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Opinion Leader Research

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many contracts were awarded by her Department to Opinion Leader Research in each year since 1997; and in respect of each what was (a) the title and purpose, (b) the cost to the public purse and (c) the date of (i) tender, (ii) award, (iii) operation and (iv) completion and report to the Department. (165262)

The Department's financial systems show that no contracts for projects have been entered into with Opinion Leader Research (OLR) since May 2002. Records prior to that could be recovered only at disproportionate cost.

My Department recently arranged through the Central Office of Information (COI) for OLR to organise two citizens' juries, which took place on 10 and 11 December 2007 in London and Hull. This was a joint project between the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills. The purpose of the citizens' juries was to explore how the provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages can be focused to reach those areas and people in the greatest need, and how it can support community cohesion. The final cost, to be shared between the two Departments, will be about £78,000. COI went out to tender on 8 November 2007. OLR was selected as the preferred contractor on 16 November and awarded the contract on 30 November. OLR is due to make a final report at the end of January 2008.