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Atomic Weapons Establishment

Volume 175: debated on Wednesday 27 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in the course of his inquiry into the atomic weapons establishment, Sir Francis Tombs was given access to commercially confidential information.

No information which was classed as commercially confidential was given to Sir Francis (now Lord) Tombs in the course of his inquiry into the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what safeguards have been established to ensure that all the companies competing for the contract to manage the atomic weapons establishment had equal access to commercially useful information.

All potential bidders for the management contract at the atomic weapons establishment were given a detailed invitation to tender document, attended a bidders conference and site tour and were given full opportunity to raise additional queries during an extensive pre-bid inquiry phase.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has decided to retain the safety division of the atomic weapons establishment after the introduction of private contractors.

Safety will continue to be given the highest priority at the atomic weapons establishment after the introduction of a management contractor and the subsequent full contractorisation of the establishment. The safety division will become part of the contractorised establishment and will be supplemented by an additional layer of safety oversight from MOD.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has yet decided on the financial criteria that will be used to monitor the performance of the management contractors to be appointed at the atomic weapons establishment.

The broad criteria against which the management contractor's performance is to be assessed were included in the invitation to tender for the interim contract phase which was issued to potential bidders on 6 April 1990. The detailed arrangements will be finalised during contract negotiation.