Below is Mr Major’s speech at the launch of the Benefit and Contribution Agencies at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London on Wednesday 10th April 1991.
Thank you very much indeed, Tony [Newton]! I must say it is nice to be back in a DSS context. It does not seem all that long since I left you last time but it has been a fairly eventful period [Laughter] so it is nice to get back to a nice, stable, casual, relaxed outlook [Laughter] which is, of course, entirely how I remember every second of my time at the DSS, whether the weather was hot or cold at that particular moment! [Laughter]
As Tony said, our purpose here this morning is to launch our two Next-
What we are seeing at the moment -
There will, by the end of this month, be 50 Next-
Those statistics I think in some ways are startling but they are not necessarily important in themselves. What I believe is important is what those steps represent and the opportunity that those steps will actually provide: an opportunity, I believe, to give managers and staff far more scope than ever before to achieve greater effectiveness and greater value for money; far greater scope for improving the management of Government services; and above all perhaps far greater scope for what we are there for in the first place -
We have seen already some impressive achievements by the Department of Social Security -
Between them -
In terms of an improving and an efficient service, the Department have got up a very impressive speed on organisational change and that is very welcome, but the acid test of course is not just the speed of establishment; the acid test will be to improve the services and then to provide them in the most cost-
What I would like to say both to all the staff who work in the Agencies and I think the people who will use their services is one thing about which I feel extremely strongly: Agencies in no sense are just another bureaucratic binge of reorganisation -
It means better accountability to people in the public services that they use in their everyday lives; it means support for the users of services in securing better standards; and it means better quality in every part of the public service. There are no second-
Let me emphasise again, both personally and as a Government, we are fully committed to a better public service throughout the entire range of our activities and so I welcome without a shred of reservation the launch of these two further Next-
I am now acutely conscious -
Thank you very much indeed!