§ Mr. Chaytor
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions he has had with the Audit Commission in respect of the guidance contained in its publication Competitive Procurement relating to the operation of best value to the categorisation of the overall performance of local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 296W
§ Dr. Whitehead
My Department has had no formal discussions with the Audit Commission about its publication Competitive Procurement. The Audit Commission acts independently of Government, and the views expressed in its publications are its own. Having said this the Government welcome the Audit Commission's report, which is based on the evidence of audit and inspection, and recognises it as a valuable contribution to our drive to improving public services. I expect local authorities will find it useful.