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Insolvency Service

Volume 268: debated on Tuesday 12 December 1995

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade against which private sector organisation the Insolvency Service is being benchmarked in the contracting-out of its work; and if he will set out the basis of the comparisons. [5666]

As part of the current contracting-out exercise to determine whether the contracting-out of official receivers case administration functions would offer additional value for money, the service has established its own costs for undertaking such work and these will be used as a benchmark against which the bids received will be compared.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 to staff transfers under contracting out in the Insolvency Service. [5671]

It will not be possible to establish whether TUPE applies to the case administration work which may be contacted-out from official receivers offices until bids have been fully evaluated and legal advice sought. However, on present information it is believed that TUPE will apply to any contracting-out.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade which Insolvency Service offices throughout the country have been earmarked for benchmarking; and what criteria was used in the evaluation process. [5668]

The benchmark cost of undertaking the official receivers case administration function has been established for each official receivers' office.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade how benchmarking costs have been formulated for the contracting out of constituent parts of the Insolvency Service; and what is the number of staff involved. [5672]

The benchmark cost of each official receiver's office has been taken as the cost of that office undertaking the work offered for tender, to the specified level, in 1996–97. Up to 900 staff would be involved.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the time scale involved in the contracting-out of the Insolvency Service; and if he will make a statement. [5667]

It is likely that a decision on the award of contracts will be made at the end of January 1996. If that decision is to proceed with contracting-out it is envisaged that contractors will begin work on 1 May 1996.