§ Mr. Donohoe
To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many contracts for goods or services have been awarded by his Department and its executive agencies on the basis of single negotiated contracts in each of the last three years; if he will list the companies involved and the value of the contract in each case; what percentage this represented of contracts awarded by his Department and its agencies after competitive tendering; and, in each case, why the contracts were awarded on the basis of a single negotiated tender. 305W
Mr. John M. Taylor
Information relating to contracts is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The chief executives of the Department's existing executive agencies have been asked to respond separately.
Data in respect of the former National Physical Laboratory, National Engineering Laboratory and Warren Springs Laboratory executive agencies are no longer readily available.
Letter from Peter Joyce to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 29 March 1996:The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your question concerning the number of contracts for goods or services awarded by The Insolvency Service on the basis of single negotiated contracts in the last three years, the companies involved and the values of the contracts, and why the contracts were awarded on this basis.In the last three years The Service has awarded only one contract using the single negotiated tender procedure. In February 1994 Stoy Hayward were awarded the contract to undertake a feasibility study to assess the scope for private sector involvement in the case administration work of Official Receivers. The company had recently completed a pre-feasibility study of this matter and it was therefore considered appropriate to utilise the knowledge and understanding gained from their initial research in undertaking the second stage of the project. The value of the contract amounted to £72,263 (inc VAT).Information regarding the percentage this contract represented of total contracts awarded by competitive tendering could only be provided at disproportionate cost given the number of contracts awarded by the Insolvency Service across its 33 sites.
Letter from David Durham to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 29 March 1996:The President of the Board of Trade, the Rt Hon Ian Lang asked me to reply to your question about contracts awarded for goods and services on the basis of single negotiated contracts during the last 3 financial years by Companies House Executive Agency.We have only examined contracts with a value of more than £10,000 since this is threshold above which, under DTI guidelines, competitive tendering is generally undertaken.During the period there were two single negotiated contracts compared to a yearly average of 25 contracts awarded after competitive tendering.The detailed information you sought is as follows:
Financial year Company name Goods/Services 1993/94 Guardian Computer Services Disaster standby services 1994/95 Rank Xerox 4890 Laser PrinterThe reasons for single tender action were respectively that in the first case the company was, as far as we were able to establish, the only one in the field providing disaster standby services for ICL 2980 mainframe computer systems; and in the second case that any other source would have required existing investment in printer driving software and data to be replaced.
In relation to contract value, it is not the Department's practice to disclose individual contract values, on grounds of commercial confidentiality. However, I can say that the combined value of the two contracts was approximately £450,000.306W
Letter from P. R. S. Hartnack to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 29 March 1996:I am replying for the Patent office to your question to the President of the Board of Trade about the number of single negotiated contracts awarded in the last three years.The single negotiated contract procedure is used only rarely for purchases over £10,000 when urgency, monopoly supplier or other factors demand it. In 1994/5 Peter Prowse Associates, a PR company with intellectual property experience, was appointed to help in advertising activities at a cost of £75,000, and after advice was sought from other Government Departments a CCTV security camera system was purchased from Sensormatic CamEra Ltd for £100,000 to help control an increase in thefts from motor vehicles from the Office's headquarters site. In 1995/6 £80,000 was spent with Sun Microsystems to provide access to Internet since the Patent Office had standardised on SUN UNIX equipment. A Docuprint print engine was also purchased in 1995/6 for £105,000 from Rank Xerox as part of an IT development project.
Letter from Jim Norton to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 29 March 1996:The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Question about single tender action. I regret that the information you requested can only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Letter from R. D. Worswick to Mr. Brian Donohoe, dated 29 March 1996:The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your question about contracts awarded by the Laboratory of the Government Chemist (LGC) on the basis of single negotiated contracts in each of the last three years.LGC follows a procedure based on the principles set out in the DTI's Procurement Manual for purchasing goods and services which forms part of its quality system accredited to BS EN ISO 9001. Single negotiated tendering would only be used where the nature of the goods or services makes competitive tendering pointless (and would need to be justified in writing by the person authorising the expenditure), except in the case of low value purchases (where likelihood of repeat orders also becomes a consideration). However the specific information you request cannot be provided without considerable expenditure of effort at disproportionate cost to the Laboratory.