§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether, following the National Audit Office's report, the Merseyside development corporation has introduced a greater price competition for any contracts going out to consultants;
(2) whether the Merseyside development corporation has changed its marketing strategy following the National Audit Office report on urban development corporations;
(3) if, following the National Audit Office's report, the Merseyside development corporation has changed its tendering policy for works contracts;
(4) if any changes have taken place in the monitoring of the developer of the Albert dock following the report of the National Audit Office; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Trippier
The work of all UDCs is continuously monitored and the NAO findings are taken into account in that process. The report of the Public Accounts Committee is awaited. In the meantime the Merseyside development corporation has:
- (i) reviewed its procedures for the competitive selection of consultants to place greater emphasis on price competition in addition to the factors such as relevant experience and past performance. Commissions are
149 awarded on the basis of best value for money and with rare exception firms submitting the lowest fees and expenses receive the commission;
- (ii) strengthened its marketing team and activities, including the new appointment of a marketing manager. The MDC is taking a much more active role in promoting Merseyside, as part of Merseyside integrated development operations, the business opportunities on Merseyside initiative and north-west promotions such as INWARD and Fast Forward, as well as continuing its support for the Merseyside tourism board;
- (iii) continued to place all of its work contracts by competitive tender to suitable firms with proven contract performance. Tender lists are now compiled to ensure that at least one firm is included which has not had a recent tendering opportunity;
- (iv) met regularly the Albert dock company at both chairman and director level to plan and to monitor the property management and service arrangements and to review charges and income.