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Local Authority Services (Competition)

Volume 130: debated on Thursday 31 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the results of the consultation exercise undertaken in November 1987 on competition in the provision of local authority services.

All responses to the consultation exercise have now been carefully considered. As a result I propose to make the following changes to the initial proposals circulated in the consultation document. 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.

  • 1. The initial implementation date will be deferred from 1 April to 1 August 1989, with the second phase of implementation starting on 1 January 1990 and so on thereafter.
  • 2. The implementation of ground maintenance competition will be by five annual tranches of 20 per cent. instead of six monthly tranches of 10 per cent. as originally proposed. The initial implementation date for ground maintenance will be 1 January 1990.
  • 3. Refuse collection has been separated from other cleaning such as street cleaning, thus enabling authorities to let these activities on a different time scale from each other.
  • 4. The implementation of school and welfare catering and building cleaning will be separated by at least one year. This will reduce the burden on education authorities in the implementation of school catering and school building cleaning competition.
  • Those local authorities which responded to the consultation exercise were content with the grouping of local authorities for implementation purposes detailed in the consultation document. As a result, I do not intend to make any changes. Nor do I intend to change the £100,000 "de minimis" level suggested in the document, below which work carried out by authorities is exempt from competition.I have arranged for copies of a revised schedule arising from the proposed changes, giving details of phasing in of competition by authority, date and activitiy, to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.