Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Answers to Written Questions for the Department


1.   PSA Target 1 (Enhance the take-up of sporting opportunities by five to 16-year-olds) is a joint target with DfES. Despite using the same data, DCMS have reported progress as being "ahead" whilst the DfES Annual Report reports it as being "on course". On what basis have you reached a more favourable assessment than DfES?

  The SR04 PSA target builds on the SR02 target that aimed to enhance the take-up of sporting opportunities by five to 16-year-olds by increasing the percentage of pupils in England taking part in at least two hours of high quality school sport and PE within and beyond the curriculum to 75% in 2006. This target was exceeded by five percentage points in 2005-06. We therefore considered that the SR04 target was ahead of trajectory. We had agreed this assessment with DfES prior to publication of our report. However they later changed their assessment to "on course": given that the SR04 target is 85%, getting to 80% two years earlier could bear either interpretation.

2.   For PSA Target 2 (Halt the year-on-year increase in obesity among children under 11), you have assessed progress as being "on course", citing a Health Survey for England statistic showing obesity remaining constant at 14.9% (p. 42). The DfES Annual Report takes the view that this data is insufficient evidence and reports progress as being "not yet assessed"; and it cites (at page 19) evidence suggesting an increase in obesity amongst under 11s of 1.2% between 2002 and 2005

Why does DCMS's assessment of progress against PSA Target 2 differ from that of DfES?

  This is a joint PSA between DCMS, DH and DfES. The three Departments agree that progress against the PSA target will be measured through the Health Survey for England (HSE) of obesity prevalence in children aged two to 10.

  Annual performance is measured by comparing HSE figures for aggregate three-year periods (ie 2002-04 against 2003-05, against 2004-06 and so on until 2008-10). Three-year aggregates are used on account of the limited sample size. Halting the increase would mean no statistically significant change in prevalence between the two three-year periods 2005-07 and 2008-10.

  We agreed our assessment of target as "on course" with DH and DfES prior to publication of our report. While DfES chose to include some supplementary analysis of the data, performance against the PSA will continue to be measured using the HSE data.

3.   For PSA Target 3 (Increase the take-up of cultural and sporting opportunities by adults and young people from priority groups), the 2006 Autumn Performance Report (p. 25) states that "the first indication of progress against the baseline will be available in March 07. It will be published [...] in the Departmental Annual Report". Why has this not happened?

Is DCMS now able to provide an assessment of progress against these targets?

  Progress was not published as part of the Departmental Annual Report due to a delay in publishing the Taking Part Annual Report. A report into progress against this PSA was therefore published in June 2007. A copy of the full report can be found in the research section of our website (

  The report presented data from the first six months of the second annual survey. This sets out current progress and presents the results of the new data in two formats. The first compares the estimates from the latest six months with data collected during the same period 12 months earlier. Using this method of comparison there was one change large enough to be detected at this stage: a significant increase in those with limiting disabilities attending historic environment sites. The second format presents the rolling year estimates. This method uses the most recent 12 months of available data and compares them with the final baseline estimates. Using this method of comparison there were no differences identified.

  Since current data show little, if any, progress against the target our overall assessment of progress is "slippage". A clearer picture of progress will emerge once the full twelve months of the second annual survey are available. We will report against this data in our 2007 Autumn Performance Report.


4.   In relation to PSA Target 2 (Increase significantly take-up of cultural and sporting opportunities by new users aged 20 and above from priority groups), the Department states on page 35 of the Annual Report that it is on course to meet an indicator on sports participation and that final results are "to be reported in the Department's Annual Report 2007"—this very document. What is the latest assessment of performance against this indicator?

  The summary of progress should read:

    "We have met three targets on museums and heritage participation, we have partly met one indicator on sport participation and we have not met two indicators on arts participation. The overall target is therefore partly met."

  The detailed information given for each indicator is correct, including the explanation of the assessment of progress against the sport indicator on page 36.

5.   For PSA Target 3 (Improve the productivity of the tourism, creative and leisure industries), the Autumn Performance Report noted that the target for productivity improvements above the service sector as a whole was not being met. The Annual Report, however, offers provisional figures which suggest that the target will be met

What is the reason for the projected upturn in productivity improvements, particularly in the "tourism-related and other leisure" sector? Is the Department now in a position to provided validated figures which would indicate whether or not the target has indeed been met?

  The final validated 2005 figures are provided below:

  The Departmental Annual Report incorrectly stated that 2005 was the final year of this target: it should read 2006. We will note this in the Autumn Performance Report later in the year. 2006 data will be released provisionally in December 2007 and then validated by June 2008.

  Current data show that the Creative Industries are on course to meet the target, having seen annual percentage increases in productivity figures higher than those for the service sector as a whole. However tourism and leisure-related industries are not currently on course to meet the target. This means the overall assessment of the target is slippage.

  There has been productivity growth in the leisure industries, particularly in gambling and sport, along with some of the smaller parts of the tourism industry such as travel agencies and other accommodation. However this is counteracted by falls in the productivity of hotels, bars, pubs and nightclubs caused by big falls in GVA (gross value added) but relatively stable employment.

  The 7 July bombings are a possible reason for the slump in these sectors. It would be reasonable to assume that tourist orientated businesses had already taken on seasonal employees and could not respond rapidly to reductions in demand.

  The limitations of the measurement of this PSA are explained in the target's Technical Note. In particular, we use low-level results which are more prone to sampling variation meaning that some fluctuations remain in the data. These may indeed be correct but it is nevertheless advisable to consider the trend and averages over several years, rather than solely the change between any two particular years.


6.   When does the Department expect to finalise new PSA targets under the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007?

  PSAs will be announced as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review announcement, expected in the autumn. The delivery agreements underpinning the PSAs will be published on the same day as the CSR White Paper.

7.   What role does DCMS envisage for the Select Committee in examining PSA target Delivery Agreements, in the light of the statements by the former Chief Secretary of the Treasury in evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on 30 January 2007? Does DCMS plan to submit draft Delivery Agreements to the Committee?

  DCMS has been working with its partners to develop the PSA delivery agreement that it is responsible for and working closely with those other departments that lead on the PSAs to which we will contribute. Because we have had to work to a tight timetable to develop the delivery agreement, it has not proved possible to share this in draft with the Select Committee. Nor will we have the opportunity to do so before the final version is sent to the Treasury for publication alongside the White Paper. However, we would hope to work with the Select Committee on the delivery of the PSAs in which we are involved after the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review is announced.


8.   In response to the Committee's questions on the Autumn Performance Report, DCMS provided revised forecasts of efficiency savings by NDPBs. Savings reported on page 51 of the Annual Report show that NDPBs have not only met the 2006-07 forecast but have already substantially overshot the target of £114 million to be met by the end of 2007-08. Savings in local authorities, on the other hand, have not met the forecast.

What is the reason for the slippage against planned efficiency savings in local authorities? What action does DCMS plan to take to improve performance?

  The Local Authorities figure provided for the Annual Report (£84.6 million), included £70.4 million final figures plus £14.2 million provisional figures. The provisional figures were the mid-year figures provided by upper tier councils only and therefore not fully representative of the overall position. The latest figures reported indicate that local authority cultural services are on target to deliver against the £146 million sought by 2007-08. The local government efficiency team in DCMS continue to work with councils on improvement and efficiency, running regional workshops on good practice and contributing to cross-government guidance.

9.   Can DCMS confirm that the overall target will be deemed to have been met in 2007-08 even if that is achieved by balancing above-target savings in NDPBs against below-target savings in local authorities?

  Yes; though as we explain above, that is not what we currently forecast.

10.   What is the Department's target for cashable efficiency savings for March 2008, and what if any interim targets does it have for 2006-07? What proportion of the gains reported to date are cashable?

  The Department's target is to realise efficiency savings of £262 million by March 2008, of which at least half will be cashable (£131 million). We have no binding interim target for 2006-07 but monitor returns to see whether contributing organisations are on their agreed trajectories.

  In the latest data return of 30 June 2007, DCMS reported gains of £204 million of which £156 million were cashable. (These figures have been updated since the Annual Report.)

11.   To what extent have DCMS's reported efficiency gains been (i) internally audited and (ii) externally audited, and what were the auditors' conclusions?

  The Treasury advises that our NDPBs are not required to audit efficiency gains, although they should have the correct systems in place to be assured that all reported gains are auditable. This is in large part due to the disproportionate cost of auditing. However, efficiency gains are discussed and approved by the boards of our NDPBs, and the Department carries out checks to help us be confident in the gains reported.

  Furthermore, in March 2007, the Department's Internal Audit carried out a full review of the way the efficiency programme is being managed by DCMS. This review concluded the following results:

    —  Risk Management: Full Assurance. "There is a comprehensive programme risk register in place. This is reviewed regularly as part of meetings and risks are ranked in order of their severity. The register documents actions to be taken, review dates and changes in the assessment of the risks. Contingency arrangements are in place."

    —  Control: Substantial Assurance. "The controls in place are generally adequate and effective and comply with OGC guidance. We have made recommendations relating to the guidance provided to NDPBs, which could impact on the effectiveness of delivery and also to ensure the Department assesses the reliance they can place on NDPB assurances."

    —  Governance: Full Assurance. "There are appropriate governance structures in place to support effective delivery of the efficiency programme. There are appropriate terms of reference".

12.   Page 51 of the Annual Report refers to "various measures" that will be used to ensure that savings are genuine efficiencies and not simply cuts in services, including customer satisfaction surveys and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Can the Department supply further details of these measures, as well as the results of these surveys and KPIs?

  As agreed with the Clerk, here are some examples of quality measures from a sample of the NDPBs taking part in the Efficiency programme:

Arts Council England

  There has been no detrimental impact on service delivery. The number of Regularly Funded Organisations has increased from 1,008 in 2003-04 to 1,015 in 2006-07.

  They have retained full Regional Office delivery to the South East despite switching from two Regional Offices to one. Business volume for the region has increased from £17.3 million in 2004-05 to £18 million in 2006-07.

  All Creative Partnerships have been set up as originally envisaged at reduced cost per child resulting in a total efficiency saving of £18 million in 2006-07.

British Library

  The BL's user and visitor satisfaction has either been maintained or even improved since the start of the efficiency programme (visitors to exhibitions that rated the quality of their visit as "excellent" or "good" was 98% in August 2004 and was still 98% in March 2006. Readers rating the services and facilities they used in the reading rooms as either "excellent" or "good" was 92% in August 2004 and 96% in March 2006).

UK Sport

  UKS have made operational savings in drug testing whilst maintaining a constant level of testing. The number of tests has remained at 7,000 over the period.


  The number of Tate Members has risen from 65,000 in March 2005, to 74,000 in March 2006.

Royal Parks

  Whilst achieving administration staff efficiencies the Royal Parks have maintained full reception services.

National Gallery

  Efficiency savings have not seen a drop in the number of opening hours at the Gallery, which were at 59 in March 2005, and remain at 59 at March 2006, and the percentage of the Gallery's collections stored in the correct environmental conditions has actually increased from 90% in 2005 to 94% in 2006.


13.   What impact has the announcement of the increase in funding for the Olympics had on the Department's management of its own budget?

  The increase in funding for the Olympics is not expected to have any impact on the Department's management of its own budget. Government grant-in-aid for the Olympics will, as now, be channelled through DCMS. From 1 April 2008 additional funding will be provided to DCMS from the Exchequer and from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Transport. The costs of wider policing and security will be met by the Home Office.

14.   Has funding to any other areas of DCMS's budget been cut in order to fund increases in Olympics cost estimates? Have any areas of DCMS's budget been earmarked for potential cutting should there be future increases in expenditure on the Olympics?

  Funding to other areas of DCMS's budget has not been cut in order to fund increases in Olympics cost estimates. The £9.325 billion funding provision for the Olympics, announced on 15 March 2007, includes £2.747 billion of contingency (£0.238 billion of which is for wider policing and security). Consequently there are no plans to cut DCMS's budget should there be future increases in expenditure on the Olympics. The expectation is that such increases would be met within the substantial contingency that has been provided.


15.   How will the Department assess whether the transformation action plan has addressed the weaknesses noted in the Capability Review?

  The Department published an outline Transformation Action Plan concurrently with the DCMS Capability Review in March. This sets out in general terms how we propose to strengthen our capabilities in leadership, strategy and delivery. As with other Departments, our response to the Capability Review will be subject to a full Cabinet Office assurance process at 6, 12 and 24 months after publication. Key to establishing our baseline will be data from our 2007 staff opinion survey and a similar survey recently undertaken with our NDPBs. We will carry out further surveys as the programme is developed and implemented, in order to track progress against key indicators.


16.   DCMS plans a reduction of 30 staff in post from 2006-07 to 2007-08, measured in terms of staff years (Annual Report, page 67), and the Department indicated to the Committee in March that it was examining all areas of the Department's business, looking for areas of work which were "lower priority or time-limited", where savings in staff posts could be made. Has DCMS reached any conclusions on how the proposed reduction in 2007-08 will be achieved?

  All divisions in the Department have now examined all areas of their business and have identified areas where reductions in staff numbers can be made. To minimise disruption we have a programme in place to redeploy staff by carefully scrutinising new vacancies and offering new posts to surplus staff as they arise or by not renewing loan contracts (around 25% of staff are on loan from other departments) so that they return to their parent department.


17.   DCMS resource DEL and administration costs are estimated to fall in 2007-08 after increasing for the past five years (p.64). What are the reasons for these decreases and what are their implications for DCMS operations?

18.   DCMS capital DEL is estimated to increase 64% from 2006-07 to 2007-08 (p.64). What are the reasons for this increase?

  Prior to SR04, Capital grants to the private sector scored in the Resource DEL with the outturn reflected in the Resource tables. In 2005-06 these grants were reclassified as Capital expenditure. The Department has worked with its sponsored bodies to ensure that projects and programmes were not adversely affected by this change and that expenditure was correctly scored. This involved a re-examination of outturns for 2005-06 and 2006-07 which affected the Resource and Capital totals for those years. We are continuing to monitor budgets closely in 2007-08 to ensure final outturn does not breach control totals.

  In addition to this the Resource total for 2006-07 was affected by £31 million Resource DEL cover for LOCOG (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games). The DEL cover was drawn down through the annual End Year Flexibility exercise. Cover for 2007-08 was not agreed when the tables were published.

  The Capital figure for 2007-08 was further enhanced by a transfer from Department for Communities and Local Government of £175 million for the Olympic Delivery Authority part of an agreed tranche of payments towards the infrastructure work.

19.   Figures for Grant-in-Aid to Sport England provided on page 58 of the 2007 Annual Report bear no relation to those provided on page 91 of the Sponsored Bodies Report 2006, or those on page 57 of the English Sports Council Annual Report and Accounts for 2005-06. Could the Department explain how these can be reconciled?

  Figures in the DCMS Annual Report for 2007 cannot be reconciled with those on the Sponsored Bodies Report 2006 or the English Sports Council Annual Report and Accounts for 2005-06 as the figure entered into the DCMS 2007 Annual Report for Sport England reflects the total Grant-In-Aid available to Sport England for drawdown rather than the actual Grant-In-Aid drawn down and spent in 2005-06. This anomaly arose due to an error by DCMS Finance division, with incorrect figures being entered onto the Table. Action is in hand to rectify this error on the electronic version of the Annual Report on the Internet.

  With regard to the comparison of the 2007 DCMS Annual Report figures for 2006-07 and the Sponsored Bodies Report 2006, the Estimated Outturn figure shown in the DCMS Annual Report 2006-07 shows the amount of Grant-In-Aid actually drawn down by Sport England whilst the Sponsored Bodies Report 2006 shows the Grant-In-Aid (including Exchequer End of Year Flexibility funding) that it was estimated at that time would be available to Sport England in Financial Year 2006-07.

20.   Figures on page 59 of the 2007 Annual Report for 2005-06 outturn in 2005-06 and estimated outturn in 2006-07 of Grant-in-Aid to the Gambling Commission are significantly higher than the plans set out on page 43 of the Sponsored Bodies Annual Report 2006. Could the Department account for the variance?

  For 2005-06, the Grant-in-Aid outturn figure of £12.132 million in the DCMS Annual Report 2007 was actually the Spring Supplementary Estimate figure for that year and was included as the result of a transcription error. The correct outturn figure for 2005-06 was £9.740 million which is consistent with the estimate shown in the "Sponsored Bodies Report 2006". An amendment will be made to the Annual Report on the Department website.

  For 2006-07, the higher estimated outturn Grant-in-Aid figure in the DCMS Annual Report 2007 was due to the increased capital costs relating to the setting up of the Gambling Commission and its relocation from London to Birmingham.


21.   The 2007 Annual Report has no accompanying Sponsored Bodies Annual Report, although a summary of grant-in-aid to each NDPB is provided on pages 58-9. Could the Department provide reasons for not issuing a Sponsored Bodies report for 2007? Did DCMS undertake any consultation to inform its decision?

  We reviewed our approach to the way we report on our sponsored bodies in the Department's Annual Report following the Cabinet Office's decision to discontinue their "Public Bodies" publication. Departments were instructed either to include data that would previously have been included in "Public Bodies" in Departmental Annual Reports, or in a suitable separate document published on the Department's website.

  We therefore decided it would be more efficient if we published the required data for DCMS public bodies as a new separate website document ("DCMS Public Bodies Directory 2007"). We included in the Annual Report an overview setting out a description of the relationship with our sponsored bodies and the context in which they operate.

  We did this for the following reasons:

    —  We received no reaction to the change in 2006 from a printed version of this material to a disc and have received no correspondence suggesting that anyone makes use of this information from this source.

    —  To reduce significantly the burden on our sponsored bodies by discontinuing the need for them to complete an entry for the DCMS Annual Report. All DCMS public bodies are required to produce their own Annual Report and Accounts. The information requested in previous years from sponsored bodies for their entry in the DCMS Annual Report was essentially a duplication of what had already been published or would be published in their own Annual Report. The new website document included a reference indicating where the latest copy of the sponsored body's Annual Report and Accounts could be obtained.

    —  Sponsored Bodies' Annual Reports and Accounts are checked by DCMS sponsor teams to ensure that the correct information is included. Therefore, by discontinuing the requirement for an entry in the DCMS Annual Report we minimised any duplication of information that is already available elsewhere or that would be published in the near future.

    —  To save time and money by eliminating duplication of work and printing costs of a separate volume of the annual report.

  In taking these steps, we consulted the Treasury to ensure that they were content that our proposals were not in breach of the relevant guidance. Copies of the new document DCMS Public Bodies Directory 2007 have been placed in the House Library.

October 2007

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