To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what experience of tenders for civil aircraft contracts was available to the assessor of the Wattisham Air Traffic contract. 
[holding answer 6 March 2003]: I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the competence of the technical assessor of the bids for the second Wattisham Air Traffic contract. The Wattisham contract was for the provision of air traffic control services, associated equipment maintenance and simulator services. As the most significant proportion of the contract was for air traffic control services for the Ministry of Defence, the most appropriate technical assessor was a military air traffic controller. Against this background it was not considered necessary for the assessor to have had experience of civil air traffic contracting.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the main differences were between the risk assessments used in the first and second assessments of the Wattisham Air Traffic contract. 
[holding answer 6 March 2003]: The risk assessment used in the second competition for the Wattisham Air Traffic Contract benefited from lessons learnt in the first competition. The second competition utilised a better defined requirement, a more rigorous and explicit approach to the risk assessment and a different assessment team—all of which improved the quality of the risk assessment overall.