HC Deb 03 March 1998 vol 307 c581W
Ms Roseanna Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what procedures he followed in the appointment of a consultant to report on the opportunities for Gaelic broadcasting in the digital era; what criteria were used for selecting the person appointed; how many candidates were considered for the position; what is the consultant's remit; what access the consultant has to commercially sensitive information; what timescale and fee the consultant has been given; and if he will make a statement. [29213]

Mr. Wilson

[holding answer 12 February 1998]: A consultant was appointed following consideration of the need for informed advice on future options for Gaelic broadcasting. The consultant was invited to carry out the work on the basis of his knowledge of Gaelic broadcasting and of developments in digital broadcasting. The remit is: To assess the opportunities for Gaelic broadcasting with the advent of digital technology, with particular reference to the possibility of a co-ordinated Gaelic television service on a single dedicated channel; To consider against this background of new opportunities, the contribution to Gaelic broadcasting of current service providers and future providers and the structure within which this might be implemented; To make recommendations and report by 20 February 1998".

The consultant has no access to commercially sensitive information other than that offered by his informants. The study is to be completed by 20 February. A fee of £3,000 is payable. The study was announced by way of a Scottish Office news release and by direct communication with the broadcasting authorities.