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National Offender Management Service: Consultants

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the policy of the National Offender Management Service is on appointing consultants from firms not approved by the Office of Government Commerce. (266413)

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) Catalist frameworks are the frameworks of choice for National Offender Management Service and new consultancy requirements are satisfied largely via competitions within the appropriate frameworks. Non-OGC Catalist suppliers are utilised only in cases where Catalist is deemed not to be able to satisfy the specialist nature of a requirement or, in a few limited cases, where the continued provision of services from a non-Catalist supplier is required for proven business continuity. In all instances, the commercial route is vetted and approved by qualified Procurement Directorate staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of consultancy contracts initiated by the National Offender Management Service were awarded to ASE Consulting Ltd in (a) 2006, (b) 2007 and (c) 2008. (266414)

Centralised historical data are not available before the financial year 2007-08, as the Department has only had a centralised consultancy contracting team since April 2008. Several reorganisations within the Departments making up the National Offender Management Service have also seen responsibility for data collection and retention shift. A current register of contracts is held which includes data for the period April 2008 to current date only. To investigate periods outside this range would therefore incur significant disproportionate costs.

During the period April 2008 to date, 341 contracts and contract extensions were awarded, of which five were with ASE Consulting Ltd.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will review the processes by which the National Offender Management Service appoints consultants to ensure efficiency. (266415)

A mandatory process that governs the use and procurement of consultants and specialist contractors was introduced to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) in April 2008. This process requires adherence to clear policy and procedure in respect of the engagement of consultants and specialist contractors and includes a clear approvals and assurance process.

All requirements are reviewed and the commercial route approved by a dedicated and qualified procurement team in the Ministry of Justice Procurement Directorate to ensure compliance with internal policy and EU Public Procurement Regulations. The same team deliver subsequent contractual requirements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much the National Offender Management Scheme spent on consultants in (a) 2006, (b) 2007 and (c) 2008. (266416)

Centralised historical data are not available before the financial year 2007-08, as the Department has only had a centralised consultancy contracting team since April 2008. Several reorganisations within the Departments making up the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) have also seen responsibility for data collection and retention shift. A current register of contracts is held which includes data for the period April 2008 to current date only. To investigate periods outside this range would therefore incur significant disproportionate costs.

Consultancy expenditure across NOMS in the financial year 2007-08 was £3.4 million.