§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the extent and nature of proposed openness in relation to contracting-out procedures in his Department.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
It has been and will continue to be the Home Office's practice to ensure fair and open competition in public procurement. My Department follows the advice given in administrative circulars issued by the central unit on purchasing in Her Majesty's Treasury. These incorporate best practice drawn from existing EC directives which in turn replicate United Kingdom best practice.
Procurement practice is however necessarily constrained by issues of commercial and contractual confidentiality.