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7 March 2000 ...
7 March 2000

Cabinet Office Minister Mo Mowlam today urged central Government Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) to step up the pace of improvements across the board.

Two White Papers published today, the 'Executive Agencies 1999 Report' and the 'Executive NDPBs 1999 Report', reveal that Agencies and NDPBs showed an overall improvement in performance last year. Agencies met 75% of targets, NDPBs met 69% of targets and both have demonstrated good examples of best practice in delivering the

Government's Modernising agenda. However, Mo Mowlam warned that there was still room for improvement, particularly in the area of target setting.

'We are committed to bringing all public services up to the level of the best and delivering what users want in an efficient and effective way.

'While these reports show an overall increase in the performance of Agencies and NDPBs, there is still much room for improvement. Too many targets do not measure the key things that really matter to people and that help improve performance; too many targets are not stretching enough; and several Agencies and NDPBs have too many

targets to enable sensible management.'

She outlined a three-point plan to modernise target setting by Agencies & NDPBs. Measures include:

- ensuring that all Agencies and NDPBs have SMART targets (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed);

- adopting robust customer satisfaction targets; and

- setting targets so that service standards rise year-on-year.

Mo Mowlam also outlined a number of new areas which are to be built into future targets to help drive up service standards. These include:

- innovation in service delivery making wider use of technology;

- valuing the role of front line staff;

- bringing services closer to the user; and

- continuous improvement in service quality.

Mo Mowlam said,

'Virtually all adults in the United Kingdom will have had some direct contact with central Government bodies at some time in their life, either through buying or selling a house, taking the driving test or looking for a job.

'The government is resolved to raise standards and encourage best practice and I know that the Chief Executives and staff of agencies and NDPBs are committed to providing the best possible service for all their customers.

'Working together, I am sure that we will be able to build on the improvements which have already been made and provide high quality public services that are truly responsive to the needs of their users.'


1. The 'Executive Agencies 1999 Report' (White Paper) is the tenth report on Executive Agencies. It covers 104 Agencies and two Departments which operate on Agency lines. More specialised Defence Agencies will be reported on in the Ministry of Defence Annual Report.

2. The 'Executive NDPBs 1999 Report' (White Paper) is the third report on Executive NDPBs. It covers the largest 89 NDPBs who account for #17 billion of taxpayers' money and #1.7 billion of National Lottery funding.

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