Further written evidence submitted by
the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs |
Before I give evidence to the Environmental Audit
Committee tomorrow I wanted to update you in writing on the decisions
I have made in relation to which of the Sustainable Development
Commission's existing functions should transfer into Defra.
I have already indicated that I do not consider that
it is for Government to carry out all of the activities currently
undertaken by the SDC and that we will in future be working directly
with a broader range of individuals and organisations.
Some of the SDC's functions do need to continue.
In particular we need to work with the SDC's partners to ensure
that we continue to engage with a broad audience to take forward
the sustainable development agenda. I am therefore proposing that
we take on the function of communicating with, and seeking views
from, those stakeholders with whom the SDC has built up relations.
Likewise I do not wish to lose the important work
that the SDC has done to support Government through building capability
on sustainable development. In line with my commitment to mainstream
sustainable development, I wish to continue the work the SDC has
done, on its own or in partnership, to influence policy-making
processes across Government. This includes development of the
sustainable development impact assessment process, working with
the National School for Government on training for policy officials
and developing guidance in the HMT Green Book.
Over the next few weeks we will work with the SDC
to identify which of the SDC's current staff should transfer to
Defra with these functions. We aim to have completed this process
by the end of the year.
We have previously spoken about the potential role
for your Committee in scrutinising Government's performance on
sustainable development and you were pursuing what NAO resource
and expertise might be available to you to do this. Of course
there is existing SDC resource - a team of seven - carrying out
some specific scrutiny activities and once you have established
what the Committee might do in this area I would encourage you
to consider whether any of them similarly have the right to transfer.
I would be happy to discuss these decisions with
Finally please find attached a copy of Defra's Business
plan which was launched on Monday.
9 November 2010