§ Mr. Woolas
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans she has to apply best value criteria to the awarding of contracts for provision of accommodation and office services for her Department. 
§ Mr. Field
Bids from the private sector will be tested against the criteria outlined in my accouncement of 31 July 1997 to ensure that service delivery proposals work and that they are fair to customers, taxpayers and staff. They will establish a minimum quality of service thereshold that must be met; give priority to flexible service delivery, controlled through robust quality 793W monitoring systems that ensure high performance; and test bidders' plans for managing people against our new strengthened criteria and concern for staff issues. Contracts will not be awarded unless they meet these criteria, no matter how low the price.