To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1), pursuant to his answer of 14 March, Official Report, column 461, why the Property Services
The information requested, based on estimates by the authorities concerned, is given in the following table:Agency was not felt to be capable of establishing the true commercial rent for the Crown premises at Richmond yard;(2) whether the contract to value the Crown premises at Richmond yard was subject to tender or was a single source contract.(3) how much money is set aside by the London region of the Property Services Agency for funding private sector valuations of Crown premises.(4) what are the criteria for deciding whether or not to have a private sector valuation of Crown premises.
It is the Government's policy that Departments should be charged a full market rent for the accommodation they occupy. As the first new freehold office to have been built in Whitehall for many years, it was especially important to obtain an entirely independent assessment of the market rental value of Richmond house to ensure that the full costs of occupation were borne by the Department concerned.The normal procedures for seeking independent professional advice were followed by the Property Services Agency in this case, taking into account the known experience and suitability of consultancy firms for the particular task. A tender was not considered appropriate in this case, the fees being settled by negotiation with the selected firm in accordance with commercial practice.It is the Government's policy that Departments should place work in the private sector wherever appropriate and a substantial proportion of the Property Services Agency's work is undertaken by private consultants. The agency's London region make provision in their annual estimates for such work in the estates field, including valuations. Specific requirements for the latter are not always known at estimates time, and no specific sum is set aside in the estimates for this latter purpose.