HC Deb 12 November 2001 vol 374 cc572-3W
35. Mr. Clelland

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what was the average length of time taken by his Department to release funds to training providers following audit in the latest six-month period for which figures are available. [11716]

Malcolm Wicks

Audits are carried out by the Department, as part of its normal commercial relationships with external providers. Departmental auditors are not empowered to withhold funds which are payable to providers. They will advise on any irregularities that may have been identified during the course of the audit. Contracting teams will decide on any appropriate action in these circumstances.

In the last six months, there are no instances of the Department withholding payment to training providers as a result of audit activities.