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Correction to Commons Written Answer

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 18 December 2007

My right honourable friend the Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism (Margaret Hodge) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

An error has been identified in the Written Answer given to the right honourable member for Maidenhead at Official Report 26 November 2007, col. 12W. The full Answer given was as follows:

Mrs May: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how many contracts were awarded by his department to Opinion Leader Research in each year since 1997; and in respect of each what was (a) the title and purpose of the project, (b) the cost to the public purse and (c) the dates on which the project was (i) put to tender, (ii) awarded to Opinion Leader Research, (iii) carried out and (iv) completed and its findings put to the department.

Margaret Hodge: “There have been no contracts awarded by my department to Opinion Leader Research since 1997.”

The correct answer should have been:

“In 2005 the Central Office of Information commissioned on behalf of the department a qualitative research project on the BBC Trust and the television licence fee from Opinion Leader Research, as part of the BBC’s Charter review. The resulting report, BBC Charter Review: Focus on the BBC Trust and the Enforcement and Collection of the Licence Fee, was completed in December 2005 and published by the department in March 2006. The department made a payment of £38,205.13 to the Central Office of Communication for this research.

The Central Office of Information operates a specific roster of accredited suppliers of market research and has the capacity and expertise to help identify the most suitable agency for a particular project. The department chose to rely on the Central Office of Information’s expertise and use its roster system to allocate the project, with the result that a formal tender procedure by the department was not necessary”.