HC Deb 26 February 1988 vol 128 c340W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if the Property Services Agency is using external accountancy practices to check consultants' fees; how many instances of discrepancies have been discovered; and if he will list, by directorate and region, the amounts received from refunds or by a subsequent reduction of fees;

(2) pursuant to the answer of 2 February, Official Report, columns 531–32, if he will describe the nature and scope of his Department's inquiries into the case of procedural irregularity involving the consultant Maurice Baguley in relation to the overseeing of maintenance contracts at the Property Services Agency's works offices at Westminster and Teddington.

Mr. Chope

There were no cases of irregularity arising from the employment of Maurice Baguley and Partners, on the maintenance management contract at the PSA district works office at Westminster, which was successfully completed in June 1987. No inquiries have therefore been instituted. The case to which I referred in my answer to a previous question, columns531–32, related to an employee of the consultants T. Dunwoody and Partners who are employed at Teddington district works office on a similar contract.

The procedural irregularity was uncovered during one of the routine management checks carried out at all district works offices which were instituted as part of the agency's drive to maintain efficiency and probity in its operations. Subsequent inquiries included interviews with the consultancy partners and the consultants' employee involved and also checks on all other contracts handled by that employee. It was following his interview that the employee handed in his resignation. There was no evidence whatsoever that any other employee of the consultants' firm was involved or had acted irregularly.