In a written answer to a parliamentary question on April 7, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, David Clark, said:
'I am launching today a new phase of the Public Sector Benchmarking Project, designed to help public bodies share best practice more systematically with each other, with the private sector and, ultimately, with the most successful government bodies in other countries. This project uses the widely-recognised European Business Excellence Model. Self-assessment against the model promotes continuous improvement and customer focus, and facilitates benchmarking with the wide variety of other organisations using the model.
'I have placed copies of the evaluation report on the first two years of the project in the libraries of the house and it is also available on the cabinet office internet site, at www.gtnet.gov.uk/co/cohome.htm
'The project has so far primarily targeted Next Steps executive agencies and the larger non-departmental public bodies. Experience with a range of other public bodies has demonstrated that the model can be of equal value in other sectors. The new phase is therefore open to any organisation in the wider public sector, and my officials will be working closely with other departments and representative bodies to encourage uptake of the project, for example among police forces, local government, and the health and education services. We will develop and emphasise the clear links between the Business Excellence Model and agencies' ministerial targets, with other quality schemes used in the public sector, particularly Charter Mark, Investors in People and ISO 9000; and with the White Papers and guidance recently or shortly to be published on Better Government, Best Value, market testing and contracting out in central government, Opening Up Quangos, The New NHS, and Excellence in Schools.
'There has been considerable intentional interest in the project. I am keen to promote this and build on the work already don, so that we can share best practices between national public sectors. My officials will work with their counterparts abroad and in the European Commission to facilitate international comparisons, and with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development in its setting up of an International Benchmarking Network for the public sector.'