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Private Security Firms

Volume 167: debated on Wednesday 14 February 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many private security firms are currently hired by (a) his Department and (b) the services; how many firms have been hired for each of the last 10 years; and what is the value of the contracts at 1989 prices.

[holding answer 7 February 1990]: Twenty-one private security contractors are currently employed by the Ministry of Defence, at both service and civilian establishments. The total number of security contractors employed by the Ministry of Defence in each year from 1983 to 1989 is shown in the table. Figures for the years 1980 to 1982 are not held centrally.

YearNumber of firms
The total values at 1989 prices of the private security contracts in each financial year from 1983–84 are as follows:Information for earlier years is not available.
Financial yearTotal value ('000s at 1989 prices)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria are used in deciding between competing private security firms for Ministry of Defence contracts.

[holding answer 7 February 1990]: All contractors who wish to obtain MOD contracts must be listed on the defence contractors list. Companies that apply to join this list are scrutinised by MOD, for financial viability and technical competence. The references of the listed executives are also checked. Many of these companies are members of the British Security Industry Association and the International Professional Security Association, although they do not necessarily have to be members to join the defence contractors list.When a decision is taken, by unit and command, after careful evaluation, that a guarding contract is to be placed, the contracts branch is asked to submit the details of the requirement to those companies listed on the defence contractors list. A company that wishes to be considered for tender or be awarded a contract must be on the defence contractors list.The decision to award a contract for security guarding is based on the company's ability to meet the technical requirements of the tasks together with value for money.

Technical compliancy is decided upon by a technical evaluation panel which includes security experts from the unit/command/department in question. This examines all technical aspects, that is, the firm's ability to perform the tasks effectively and efficiently. All the competing firms are then placed in an order of compliancy. A financial analysis of each tender is carried out by the contracts branch alone. The contracts branch then decides, using the technical panel's information on compliancy, with which contractor it will place the contract.