§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) whether he has any plans to cease using accountancy firms sued by the Government for negligence;
(2) whether he has any plans to cease using accountancy firms found to be unprofessional by the joint disciplinary scheme;
(3) whether he has any plans to cease using accountancy firms criticised by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors.
§ Mr. Cope
I refer the hon. Member to my previous reply on 15 January at column17.563W
The Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Departments are aware of the need, before awarding contracts, to take into account all relevant considerations and to make such inquiries as are necessary to establish the professional competence of the firm concerned. In this connection, close links are maintained with Her Majesty's Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industry and the relevant guidelines on the employment of accountants, accountancy firms and advisors are followed.