Public Service Delivery

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 1:40 pm on 4 February 1998.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Labour, Harrow East 1:40, 4 February 1998

What consultations he has carried out with the general public on issues relating to the delivery of public services. [25356]

Photo of Peter Kilfoyle Peter Kilfoyle Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

We have carried out a number of consultations on public services with a wide variety of interested bodies, as well as with individual members of the public. The consultations have covered the new charter programme, due to be launched as part of the better government initiative later this year; improving the effectiveness and accountability of quangos; proposals on freedom of information; and most recently, a consultative paper on improving means of disseminating official information to the public. In addition, as we announced last week, we are establishing a people's panel of some 5,000 members of the public who will be consulted regularly on public service issues.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Labour, Harrow East

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. I welcome the better government initiative, which is bound to make public services much more effective. Some sections of the community, particularly the elderly, rely on public services far more than others. What steps are the Government taking to improve access to public services for the elderly, in contrast to the disdain and contempt for the elderly shown by the previous lot?

Photo of Peter Kilfoyle Peter Kilfoyle Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

We are attempting to make public services more accessible for everybody. Last year, I hosted a forum for the elderly to ascertain their needs and whether IT was applicable to satisfying those needs. More immediately, to ensure that we get it right, we have set up a project with the Warwick university local authority consortium, Age Concern, the Anchor housing trust and the Carnegie UK trust under the directorship of Martin Shreeve, late of the social services department in Wolverhampton. We intend, around June, in partnership with the Citizenship Foundation and Age Concern, with sponsorship from Guardian Royal Exchange and Saga Holidays, to publish a passport for the over-50s.