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Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 3 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list each private sector consultancy firm which has been retained by each agency within his Department, and for his Department as a whole, for the purposes of advising on the market testing programme; and whether the appointment in each case was the result of competitive tendering.

No contracts have been undertaken by any of the agencies in the Department for this purpose. Two private sector consultancy firms have been retained by the headquarters section of the Department for this purpose—Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte and Ernst and Young. Both appointments were the result of competitive tendering.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those parts of his Department, including executive agencies, carrying out reviews over the last 12 months into the pay and grading of staff; and the firm of consultants engaged, where appropriate.

Reviews of pay and grading within the Employment Department group are taking place within the framework of the Government's plans for reform of civil service pay and grading. These were announced by the Chancellor at the end of July 1991 and give Departments and agencies the opportunity to develop their own pay and grading systems, to suit their own needs.The Employment Service conducted a small-scale study from July to October 1991, supported by Price Waterhouse Management Consultants.The Health and Safety Executive has begun a review of pay and grading structures which will be undertaken with the support of external consultants over the next six months. The consultants have yet to be selected.