§ Mr. O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any information on the effectiveness of compulsory competitive tendering in local government; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
There is no specific information available as yet on the outcome of compulsory tendering for building and maintenance work under the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, although I understand that the Audit Commission intends to publish a study on this next year. The date by which compulsory tendering for the first group of other services under the Local Government Act 1988 must be completed is 1 August 1989. It is however already clear that, to meet the challenge of competition, local authorities are radically overhauling their organisation, staffing and terms and conditions of service. The best guide we have to the effectiveness of tendering in local government comes from the voluntary exercises carried out by several authorities, including a recent Audit Commission study on ground maintenance. These show that savings of up to 30 per cent. of previous cost can be achieved for the same standard of service.