§ Mrs. Roche
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is his Department's policy on the use of performance bonds; in what circumstances they are used; what was the total sum paid by bond in each of the last five years; and if his Department requires bonds from businesses with fewer than(a) 100, (b) 50 and (c) 20 employees. 
§ Mr. Willetts
The Office of Public Service and its agencies, HMSO and the Central Office of Information, follow the Treasury's central unit on procurement's guidance note No. 48 on "Bonds and Guarantees" which states that bonds are not always necessary and are no substitute for considered judgments about the risks of a particular contract and the capabilities and financial resources of the available contractor. These factors will vary for each contract independent of the size of the contractor. There have been no payments made by bond to the Department in any of the last five years.