HC Deb 01 December 1959 vol 614 cc981-2
9. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of Works his Department's policy when placing Government contracts for building and civil engineering works; to what extent all such contracts are subject to open competitive tendering and acceptance of the lowest price; what is the number of contracts placed without competition in relation to the total undertaken for the period 1955,1956, 1957, and 1958, and up to the latest convenient date in the current year; and the proportion, expressed as a percentage, of contracts placed without competitive tendering for the period 1955 to the latest convenient date.

Lord John Hope

The Department's policy is to place contracts for building and civil engineering works at a fixed price with the lowest bidder after competitive tendering by approved contractors. Only in the most exceptional circumstances are contracts placed without competition or to anyone but the lowest tenderer. The number of contracts from the beginning of 1955 to date is 40,486. To give a figure for the exceptional cases when the contract has been placed without competition or the lowest tenderer has been passed over would make heavy calls on staff time in examining all the 40,000 files, but the proportion of exceptional cases is almost certainly less than 1 per cent.

Forward to