§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many outside accountancy firms are employed by his Department; whether such employment is subject to any guidelines; and whether he takes steps before employing an accountancy firm to discover whether that firm has been censured by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors in their inquiries under the Companies Act.
§ Mr. Freeman
The number of accountancy firms currently employed by the Department of Health is five. Accountancy firms are invited to tender for the provision of advisory services to Departments on the basis of their suitability to provide the relevant advice. In making such appointments, consultations are carried out as necessary and where appropriate in the light of advice given by the Treasury on consultancy appointments.