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Government Departments: Contracts

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what rules are in place for deciding which outsourced Government projects should be put to open tender. (176836)

I have been asked to reply.

All Government procurement, including for outsourcing, operates within a legal and policy framework based on the EU procurement rules and the Government's policy of securing value for money.

The EU rules comprise the EU procurement directives and the EU treaty. Procurements valued above certain thresholds, starting at around £90,000, must meet the requirements of the EU directives, and must be subject to open competition following advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Union. In addition, the EU treaty principles, which govern all procurement regardless of the value, require that public purchasing is conducted in a transparent and open manner. This normally requires a level of advertising proportionate to the value of the contract.

Government policy, as set out in Managing Public Money, is to achieve value for money (VFM) for all purchases. VFM is usually achieved through competition by means of open tendering procedures.