I welcome the RIPA report as a useful contribution to the continuing debate about the work of central Government. It mirrors in a number of respects the conclusions reached by the Select Committee on the Treasury and Civil Service a year ago, to which the Government's response was presented to Parliament last July.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is of great benefit to civil servants that they should enjoy the process of interchange on secondment with outside bodies, particularly with industry? Will he confirm that that remains, and will remain after the next general election, the Government's policy? What is the rate of inward secondment to the Civil Service?
My hon. Friend is right to attach importance to inward and outward secondments to the Civil Service. That is very much at the heart of the Government's policy on the Civil Service. I am pleased to be able of announce that in 1986 outward secondment has gone up from 229 to 280 people and inward secondment has gone up from 157 to 189 people. That shows that we are building on our policy of secondment.