§ Mr. Alan Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what methodology is to be adopted by his Department to ensure that contractorisation of the services provided to the Benefits Agency delivers(a) value for money and (b) quality standards for the full term of the contract. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
The methods and procedures used on all contracts for services awarded by this Department take account of prescribed policies, EU legislation and best practice.
The key criterion used in selecting contractors is that the chosen bid must demonstrate itself to be the most economically advantageous. Formal evaluation procedures, pertinent to each specific project, are put in place to ensure this is achieved.
The necessary quality standards are part of a contractor's contractual obligation. The actual performance achieved is measured against the requirements throughout the contract to ensure compliance.