§ Mr. Thurnham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authorities in the north-west have privatised council services; which authority has privatised the most services; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
Local authorities are required to put certain of their services out to competitive tender under the terms of the Local Government Act 1988 in accordance with a timetable prescribed in the Local Government Act 1988 (Defined Activities) (Competition) (England) Regulations 1988, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. These require those authorities which were not able to claim exemption on de minimis grounds to put one specified service out to tender by 1 August 1989 and a second service by 1 January 1990. Different services were prescribed for different authorities. In addition, all authorities which were not subject to a de minimis exemption were required to put at least 20 per cent. of their ground maintenance work out to tender by 1 January 1990.
The results of a questionnaire on the first round of tendering under the 1988 Act are not yet available. Information about tendering for services not covered by the Local Government Act 1988 is not collected centrally.