§ Mr. Patnick
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress has been made by the Post Office in the implementation of the recommendations made in the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the Post Office's procurement activities; and if he will make a statment.
§ Mr. Butcher
In January the Post Office produced its initial response to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report published in October last year (Cmnd. 9912) and a statement was made to the House in April on progress to date and arrangements for follow-up to the report. This recorded that a detailed timetable for implementation of the recommendations had been agreed with the Post Office and that the Post Office would prepare progress reports in October 1987 and October 1988. The statement also noted that the Post Office had partially rejected one of the recommendations which related to arrangements for paying advertising agencies. My Department, in consultation with the MMC, subsequently agreed to accept the Post Office's response on this.
I have now received the Post Office's report on progress to October 1987 and I am placing copies in the Library of the House. Good progress has been made to date. Nearly half the MMC's 49 recommendations have already been implemented and most of the remainder are on course for implementation according to timetable. The Post Office has reduced stock levels as recommended by the MMC and has introduced improvements in various areas of procurement, although there has been some delay with a few of the recommendations because the planned computerised purchasing system is being reviewed, following the reorganisation of the Post Office into separate businesses.
My Department will continue to monitor the Post Office's progress in implementing the MMC's recommendations.