§ Mr. Donohoe
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidelines are currently in force in his Department and its executive agencies relating to competitive tendering and the use of single negotiated tenders; on what grounds single negotiated tenders can be used; and what procedures are in place within his Department to ensure that the use of single negotiated tenders in competitive tendering processes is justified in all cases. 
§ Mr. Hanley
The Government's public purchasing policy consolidated guidelines require goods and services to be acquired by competition unless there are convincing reasons to the contrary. In addition, the EC procurement directives and the world trade organisation Government procurement agreement require most contracts above specified thresholds to be graded following competition, subject to certain specified exceptions.
Guidelines in force in the Department and the Overseas Development Administration and its executive agency reflects best purchasing practice and advocate the use of competition as an essential ingredient for the achievement of value for money for the Department, the ODA and the taxpayer. At the same time, the guidelines acknowledge that in certain circumstances it may be necessary to purchase from a single provider, either by negotiation with a monopoly or otherwise to standardise equipment or take account of (1) only one source being available for technical or quality reasons; (2) repair of original manufacture; (3) repeat order, where the supplier has the tooling, designs or artwork etc; (4) the only supplier responding to a competitive invitation to tender; (5) extreme urgency arising from circumstances outside the Department's control; (6) low value; or 628W (7) additional costs outweighing the benefit of renewed competition, takin into account the complexity of the service, the resources originally committed to setting it up and the cost effectiveness of change.
It is standard practice for the reasons which justify single tender action to be recorded and approved at a senior level in advance of awarding a contract.