§ Lord Rowallan
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 12 January (WA 119), how they were able to assess the value for money, and the fitness to run the CALM helpline, of Network Scotland as compared to other agencies, when only four organisations were asked to tender and one of these (the Samaritans) did not tender; and [HL103]
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 12 January (WA 119), which four organisations were asked to tender for the CALM helpline, besides Network Scotland, and what were their tender bids; and [HL 104]
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 12 January (WA 119), why they held a closed tender to run the CALM helpline when they are committed to open tendering; and [HL 105]
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 12 January (WA 119), what is the Official Journal of European Tenders; where it is published and by whom; how existing charities can be disqualified from tendering when they have not been informed of this journal's existence; and how long the European Union Framework Agreement contained therein has been in existence; and [HL106]
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 12 January (WA 119), why, when the CALM helpline project is a local Manchester pilot study, it was necessary to have a Europe-wide invitation, and why the Central Office of Information were considered to be the vehicle through which this tender should be awarded; and [HL 107]
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 12 January (WA 119), why SANE were not warned that they needed to be on a special list in order to tender for government projects about which they had a specialised knowledge, given that they have previously received European Union funds for European projects. [HL108]
§ The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington)
The bids were assessed for value for money and fitness using evaluation criteria based on the Treasury's Procurement Practice and Development Unit's (PPDU) best practice guidance. Details of the bids, including the company names, cannot be given, as this is commercially restricted information.
It is established government purchasing policy that where purchases exceed the EU finance threshold, departments must give all suppliers within the EU, including those with charitable status, an equal opportunity to express an interest in tendering for the business by placing a Tender Notice in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJEC), which is published by the Official Publications Office in Luxembourg. The journal is published daily in the language of each member state. It has been in existence since 1971 and was developed further in 1993 to cover all procurement requirements. The Department 232WA of Trade and Industry produce information for suppliers on obtaining business in Europe.
The Central Office of Information (COI) was appointed to manage the CALM project because it had a current EU Framework Agreement for the provision of a telephone response facility, enabling the department to meet its timescale for delivery. COI used the open procedure, which meant all respondents to the Tender Notice who met the technical and commercial criteria were invited to tender. After a full evaluation of the suppliers bids, contracts were awarded in August 1994. By using COI's existing agreement, proper purchasing procedures were followed.
It is the threshold limit of the project that dictates the procurement procedure, not the location of the work.