HC Deb 26 February 1988 vol 128 c341W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the number of occasions where consultants employed by the Property Services Agency have been discovered by it to have overcharged for consultancy services; and if he will also identify in relation to each occasion the amount of money subsequently repaid, or the amount of subsequent fee reduction.

Mr. Chope

[holding answer 22 February 1988]: As part of the agency's established procedures, PSA staff check all fee accounts submitted by consultants. Any inaccuracies or overcharging are dealt with immediately, normally by making the necessary adjustments to the consultants fee account before payment. Most adjustments are of a routine nature and bearing in mind that thousands of consultants' accounts are submitted on a monthly basis, no central record is kept of such adjustments.

On some very large projects a firm of chartered accountants is being employed by PSA to conduct an independent audit on certain aspects of the consultants' bills. To date bills from nine major consultants have been audited by the firm and savings of over £1 million representing some 2.5 per cent. of consultant fees have been made in the fees claimed. The commissions concerned were let by two directorates, the Directorate of Defence Services 1 and the Directorate of Civil Accommodation.

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