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Public Procurement: Value for Money

Volume 737: debated on Thursday 7 September 2023

16. What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help ensure value for money in public procurement. (906260)

The UK Government already award contracts on the basis of most economically advantageous tender. Furthermore, we are currently taking the Procurement Bill through Parliament, which is an opportunity to streamline procurement processes and ensure that value for money remains central to the UK’s procurement regime.

It is important that taxpayers get value for money when public services are outsourced. Over recent years, the Home Office has given vast sums of taxpayers’ money to Clearsprings Ready Homes, yet the accommodation that it has contracted out for housing asylum seekers has been unfit for human habitation, partly because so much taxpayers’ money is being skimmed off by unaccountable intermediaries before it reaches the hotels or food providers. What is the Cabinet Office doing to stop that sort of thing happening in outsourced services?

I am unable to comment on the specifics of that case, but on the broader point, the Procurement Bill covers a range of issues, including how we can improve quality within our supply chains. Perhaps the hon. Lady will join us for ping-pong next week.

I welcome the recent announcement that a growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises have secured Government contracts, but businesses with a social purpose and female-owned businesses are still under-represented in public procurement opportunities. Will my hon. Friend meet me to discuss what can be done to remedy that?

I would be very happy to meet my hon. Friend about this and other issues. She will know that the Procurement Bill means we are now looking at the most advantageous tender, which means that value for money remains central but that those seeking to strike up procurement can also look for other factors when deciding which contract to sign. We are very much on the same page.