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Competitive Tendering

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide a timetable for the implementation of competitive tendering procedures for individual local government services in the phasing programme.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 November 1987, c. 598-99]: My right hon. Friend has now considered the responses to the consultation paper on implementation of competition for English local authority services issued on 2 November. He has decided to confirm the proposal of a phased introduction of competition by local authorities (other than parish councils), with authorities split into groups and each group taking the activities covered by the Act in a different order.The groups of authorities will be the same as set out in the consultation paper. The date by which authorities will have had to have exposed their first activities to competition will be set at 1 August 1989, to allow adequate time for all stages of the competitive process to be completed.Three other changes to the implementation proposals have been made which will help ensure efficient implementation of the competition process. These take account of the fact that a decision on the possibility of adding sport and leisure management to the list of defined activities has not yet been taken, and therefore, if this activity is added by order, some delay in implementing competition for it is inevitable.My right hon. Friend has decided to confirm the £100,000 de minimis level below which authorities' services would be exempt from competition.These decisions are described fully in a letter which is today being sent to all affected authorities, and copies of which have been placed in the Library.A further announcement will be made shortly about implementation for the other English authorities and bodies covered by part I of the Act.