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Departmental ICT

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the National Programme for IT contracts is covered by the 50 per cent. growth limit set in public procurement legislation; and what price each contract would have to reach to exceed that limit. (256555)

One of the exemptions allowing the growth of contracts under the public contracts regulations 2006 is a cap on the extended value of a contract to 50 per cent., of the value payable under the original contract. This cap is relevant where a contracting authority requires additional services which cannot for technical or economic reasons be provided separately from another source without major inconvenience, or where services are strictly necessary to the later stages of the performance of the contract.

Use of this exemption is assessed for each national programme contract as necessary, and monitoring is undertaken to ensure the relevant amounts are not exceeded.

The value of the core national programme contracts is given at figure 6 on page 25 of the National Audit Office report ‘The National Programme for IT in the NHS: Progress since 2006’, which can be found at:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent on press and public relations work related to the Connecting for Health programme in each year since its announcement. (252331)

Information requested is shown in the following table.

Financial year

Expenditure (£)













1 1 April to 31 December 2008.


Figures relate to externally contracted services (exclusive of VAT) and exclude staff costs.

There was a peak in media activity, including stakeholder engagement exercises, in 2007-08 when external resources were procured to supplement in-house resources and to support local national health service organisations in press activity covering local deployments, particularly picture archiving and communications (digital imaging) systems, and to also help meet the Public Accounts Committee recommendation from June 2006 on increasing stakeholder engagement. These activities, in addition to supporting the public information programme in summary care record early adopter areas, accounted for an increase in costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Department has spent on legal fees relating to the NHS IT programme in the last 12 months. (256711)

In the calendar year 1 January-31 December 2008 £3.969 million, excluding VAT, was paid to lawyers for services received by NHS Connecting for Health in relation to its role in delivering the NHS IT programme, and maintaining the critical business systems previously provided to the national health service by the former NHS Information Authority.