HC Deb 27 June 1995 vol 262 cc596-7W
Mr. Simon Coombs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy on the application of compulsory competitive tendering to those authorities he has selected for a further review by the Local Government Commission. [31481]

Mr. Jones

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on Thursday 22 June 1995,Official Report, column 353, that the Local Government Commission has been asked to carry out further reviews of 21 shire districts in 12 separate counties. Their selection for a further review should not of itself affect the continued operation of CCT, and I would urge all to continue to operate contracts for blue collar services already subject to CCT, and to continue with preparations for the extension of CCT to housing management and white collar services.

In the event of Ministers accepting a recommendation made by the Commission for a change in an authority's structure or function, I intend that our existing policy for authorities changed following review should apply to both the district and county council concerned. In summary this means that: the "except window" which suspends the re-tendering of blue collar work and the implementation of housing management CCT will apply to both the district and county council from the date at which the Order providing for reorganisation comes into force until 18 months—or, in some cases, 24 months-after the changes have taken effect; the timetable for the extension of CCT to white collar services in the district and county councils concerned will be determined by the date on which changes take effect. I anticipate that this will be 1 April 1997. On this basis, CCT for the first of the new white collar services will bite from 1 April 1999; and the extension of CCT to the further manual services—security work, management of vehicles and management of on-street parking—will take effect from 1 October 1998, again on the basis of changes in structure or function taking effect from 1 April 1997.

Authorities which remain unchanged following the further review will be expected to follow the timetable I announced on 29 March of this year, Official Report, column 644.

These exemptions are designed to provide space for reorganised authorities to rethink the way in which they deliver local services, and to adopt the model of an enabling authority. This will provide new opportunities in due course for external contractors to make an effective contribution to local services, and offset the short-term disadvantages which the temporary suspension of CCT brings.