§ Mr. David Young
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria have been issued to district health authorities to prevent specifications on competitive tendering being drafted in such a way as to facilitate the application of a specified firm.
§ Mr. Freeman
A wide range of guidance has been issued on the importance of openness in tendering. For example, the Department's guide "Option Appraisal: Medical and Scientific Equipment", published in 1988, advises that a range of equipment should be identified that appears to satisfy the functional requirements and that requirement specifications should not include performance features that would effectively limit the choice to only one model unless there is clear agreement by all concerned that they are genuinely essential. The Department's procurement directorate will offer health authorities advice on available choices, where required.