HC Deb 11 March 1998 vol 308 cc200-1W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 2 March 1998,Official Report, columns 468–69, what were the reasons for the increase in the value of contracts placed with the Laboratory of the Government Chemist in 1996 and 1997. [32998]

Mr. Straw

Two high value contracts have been let since 1996 with the Laboratory of the Government Chemist (LGC).

The Prison Service (Supply and Transport Services) initiated a competitive tender in late 1995 for a single contract to replace large numbers of small contracts with various suppliers because they were not cost effective. LGC won this competition (but has in a subsequent competition lost it to a competitor with effect from April 1998).

The Police Information Technology Organisation had previously let a competitive contract to University Diagnostics Ltd. which was subsequently bought by LGC (in early 1997).