Examination of Witnesses (Questions 60-62)|
29 JANUARY 2008
Q060. Dr Doug Naysmith: Your new
PSA targets areand there are three of the major onesone,
to raise the productivity of the UK economyand that would
be a task in itself for most peopletwo, to deliver the
conditions of business success in the UK; and three, to improve
the economic performance of all English regions and reducing the
gap in economic growth rates between regions. A very substantial
agenda, so how do you intend to implement these public service
targets? What are your key priorities for the future and how do
you intend to communicate them?
Mr Sargent: I can only talk obviously
within the regulatory reform bit because obviously we are a part
of the department which actually has the PSA, which are generally
across government anyway, most of the PSAs. The manner in which
we are dealing with this is what we laid out earlier, in which
we broke down the strands of activity. If we take productivity
as a target the work that we do basically removes time spent or
removes costs spent inappropriately and frees them up to do other
things. There are various international studies that say, for
example, if we save a business £500 on a particular set of
formstake the Health & Safety Executive's ones, which
have been halvedthat if you do not have to do that you
now have time to do something else, generally sell more or create
a new product or innovate, spending more time thinking how can
I improve my service and my product. So for us it is very clear
that the money that people save in not having to do whatever they
are doing, either employing outsiders or spending their own time
on it, translates straight through into some other activity, which
is more productive and has added value. I think that is how we
deliver the productivity agenda. The same applies as you go through
the other targets that you referred to.
Mr Kohli: Within delivering the
conditions of business success there are specific indicators on
better regulation which obviously we lead on for government, but
we are of course a government unit and our role is to encourage
others and get others to do the necessary work to make the changes
that we want to happen.
Q061. Dr Doug Naysmith: How do you
intend to communicate what you are doing? I know we have touched
on it a lot already.
Mr Sargent: There are two types
of communication. There is the communication we have to do across
government, within government, with Ministers, with the civil
service and we have a fairly effective line of communication.
We have better regulation officials in each of the departments;
there is a better regulation Minister, there is a network of Ministers,
there is a network of officials. In turn there is our own communications
with interested parties out there, whether it is with the National
Consumer Council or the CBI who we meet regularly, so the internal
and the infrastructural people are quite close to the action,
so to speak and we are pretty easily tied into it. If you look
at any diary in any given week you will see these monthly directions,
so there is that form. The communication with the community at
large, who are more difficult to get to, range from the national
media, which to me is one of the most important constituents that
I am trying to use as they have a huge effect on driving the desire
or the needs for regulation quite often, and we engage with them
quite actively. We are quite keen on the local press and trade
press because we find that those are more usable channels to communicate
directly with people in a way that means something to people and
so that is the bit that we are quite keen on, and local radio.
When we did the simplification plans before Christmas I think
the most successful way of getting people to listen was by radio.
It was easy to get on to 20 or 30 local radio stations and just
Q062. Dr Doug Naysmith: Finally,
can I ask you how many employees you have to bring about all this
Mr Kohli: About 90.
Dr Doug Naysmith: Good luck!
Chairman: Gentlemen, it has been a very
helpful session and I am grateful to you for your time. I guess
when you have succeeded in bringing about the cultural changes
to which you refer I suppose the final task will be to abolish
yourselves! I thank you for your attendance and for being so frank
with us. We will be following up some of the points and pressing
you for some more detail, but we are grateful for your cooperation.