(2) whether Ministers from his Department were consulted on the terms of the contract drawn up between the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and ETS to deliver the key stage 2 and key stage 3 national curriculum tests.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is responsible for the delivery of National Curriculum tests. The QCA Board took decisions on the procurement and award of contracts. Throughout the procurement process, officials from the Department for Education and Skills (DFES) participated as observers, commenting and asking questions. QCA shared copies of documentation with officials who offered comments. DFES observers did not have voting rights or decision making powers in relation to the procurement. The QCA Board approved ETS as preferred bidder on the 14 December 2006. Ministers were informed of the QCA's choice of preferred bidder on the same day, prior to the commencement of contract negotiations. Ministers were not consulted on the terms of the contract between QCA and ETS. Lord Sutherland has found that the procurement was sound but the QCA did not manage the contract it held with ETS effectively.