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Post Office

Volume 114: debated on Wednesday 8 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what response the Post Office has made to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the Post Office's procurement activities; and if he will make a statement.

I have now received the initial response of the Post Office to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report published in October last year on the Post Office's procurement activities (Cmnd. 9912). I am placing copies of the Post Office's response in the Library of the House. The commission reached 52 conclusions and made 49 practical recommendations on various aspects of Post Office procurement, including purchasing in the Post Office's supply department and in its regions, stock management, procurement of particular produces and services and the financial arrangements and staffing of the Post Office's procurement function.The Post Office has accepted all but one of the commission's recommendations. Because many of these covered areas where the Post Office was making improvements or was planning to do so, it has been able to implement many of the commission's recommedations already. My Department has agreed a detailed timetable with the Post Office for implementation of the remaining recommendations and has also agreed that the Post Office will prepare progress reports in October 1987 and October 1988 on action taken and results achieved.One recommendation, which relates to arrangements for paying advertising agencies, was partially rejected by the Post Office. This matter is still under consideration in consultation with the commission.I am satisfied that the Post Offie is taking the commission's recommendations seriously and is making good progress on their implementation.I should like to take this opportunity to convey the Government's gratitude to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission for its thorough and valuable investigation.