Following publication of the government's command paper in response to the Scottish Affairs Committee's (SAC) report The Operation of the Enterprise Agencies and the LECs, Mr Forsyth said:
'I warmly welcome this important contribution to the debate in Scotland about the role of Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the local enterprise companies.
'When they were set up in 1991 the Enterprise networks represented an innovative approach to the delivery of the government's enterprise, environment and training programmes. The select committee's inquiry has been timely and helpful and has confirmed that overall the system works well.
'The government have accepted 18 of the SAC's 22 recommendations, either entirely or for the most part, and some of the committee's recommendations reflect current practice within the Enterprise network. The government have noted or agreed to consider the remaining four.
'The creation of the local enterprise companies has forged an alliance of individuals from the public and private sectors to deliver integrated training and employment programmes and other measures to stimulate enterprise and competitiveness. I am glad that the Scottish affairs committee has recognised the benefits of this approach and has focused on the new challenges of devising new ways of ensuring accountability and value for money throughout the Enterprise networks.
'I note with satisfaction the committee's recognition of the need to find a balance between the strategic leadership provided by The Scottish Office and the Enterprise bodies on the one hand, and flexibility in local decision-making on the other.'
Mr Forsyth also announced that he would be asking Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to appoint an external adjudicator to consider complaints after internal procedures have been exhausted. The terms of reference and arrangements for the adjudicator will be agreed with The Scottish Office and SE and HIE will publish an annual summary of the adjudicator's findings. The arrangements for the external adjudicator will be reviewed in the light of experience.