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Computer Consultancies

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list all the computer consultancies employed by his Department and agencies, since November 1991, the tasks for which they were engaged, and the total cost to his Department.

The cost of computer consultancy contracts awarded by the Office of Public Service and Science and its agencies since November 1991 is £818,000. This figure does not include the cost of CCTA computer consultancies. The information requested is not held centrally within CCTA in the form requested and is available only at disproportionate cost.The consultancies and assignments for which they were engaged are as follows:performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.

The Government continue to help small businesses, through improvements to the business climate, through deregulation and through specific programmes of support and assistance. Work carried out by my Department over the last 12 months to assist small businesses includes:

publishing the science engineering and technology White Paper "Realising Our Potential". This paper sets out how Government will be giving increased priority to smaller firms within their programmes for encouraging industrial research and development; and will be seeking to involve companies of all sorts, including small businesses, in the new technology foresight programme;
running two full-day conferences designed to inform businesses of the potential opportunities for competing for Government contracts under the market-testing, programme. These were attended by representatives from over 400 companies, including many small businesses;
encouraging Government Departments and agencies to assist business, including small firms, through citizens charter initiatives such as the VAT charter produced by Customs and Excise, and the Employer's charter produced by the Contributions Agency;
helping the DTI's deregulation unit to frame a code of good practice for enforcement agencies in accordance with citizens charter principles. The code was published on 20 July;
overseeing an efficiency scrutiny into the implementation and enforcement of EC law in the United Kingdom; the report of the scrutiny was also published on 20 July.