HL Deb 28 April 2003 vol 647 cc86-7WA
Lord Harris of Haringey

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer of 27 March by the Baroness Hollis of Heigham (WA 87), why if only three tenders by European Social Fund Objective 3 co-financing in respect of capacity building have been rejected because their documentation was not completed properly, Jobcentre Plus produce a pro forma letter of rejection for applicants with tick boxes indicating the grounds for rejection, (for example, that the font size was too small); and whether this approach to voluntary organisations is consistent with the desire for capacity building. [HL2404]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham)

The Government are satisfied that the tendering arrangements applied by Jobcentre Plus in respect of ESF co-financing are clear and fair, and that they allow for promoting capacity building in the voluntary sector. The arrangements comply with the rules for implementing the ESF and are designed to ensure that public money is used to support projects that aim to offer better quality and more effective services for the unemployed and disadvantaged people that this Government are trying to help.

Jobcentre Plus has a standard procedure for indicating to tenderers why their tender has been rejected. This is done on a pro forma which has been developed for use in all procurement competitions that Jobcentre Plus holds. The standards for tenders are clearly stated when the competition is called. Potential tenderers are able to seek clarification of these procedures at pre-tender meetings or from contract teams. Providers are also invited to discuss the reason for rejection so that they can meet requirements in future tenders.