§ Mr. Soames
This is a matter for the Army Base Repair Organisation under its framework document. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Jim Drew to Mr. David Faber, dated 22 July 1996:
I am replying to your Question to the Secretary of State for Defence about when he expects to announce the results of the current market testing of ABRO workshops as this matter falls within my area of responsibility as Chief Executive of the Army Base Repair Organisation (ABRO).You may already be aware that a key target for the Agency in financial year 1996/97 is to recommend the results of the ABRO Land Command Support Service Market Test to the Minister of State for the Armed Forces by 31 January 1997. This service is currently delivered through a national network of workshops and contract repair offices—the ABRO Land Command Support Group. The approach adopted for the market test has been designed to ensure that bidders are encouraged to meet the full requirements of the service in the most cost effective way. Bidders are not confined to utilising the existing facilities employed by the Agency for this task; instead they may put forward their own innovative solutions.Invitations to tender were issued in October 1995 but, because of the difficulties associated with competing this vast and complex activity, the date for tender returns has been extended and they are now due on 6 August 1996. Two commercial consortia and an in-house team are still in the running in the competition.Because of the difficulties encountered thus far the timescale to meet the key target is very tight. Moreover the scope for innovation may produce some novel and unconventional proposals for evaluation when bids are received. Nevertheless it remains my objective to submit recommendations as early as possible in the New Year.