§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many outside accountancy firms are employed by his Department; whether such employment is subject to any guidelines; and whether he takes steps before employing an accountancy firm to discover whether that firm has been censured by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors in their inquiries under the Companies Act.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
The Department has consultancy contracts with four of the major accountancy firms. All the contracts have been arranged in accordance with the Treasury guidelines for the appointment to audit and other accountancy assignments in the public sector. The Department does not routinely consult the Department of Trade and Industry, but would do so it it were planning to employ a firm whose reputation was not well established.