§ Mr. Meacher
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will report on the progress of the private sector advisory forum; and what further plans he has for strategic contracting out of civil service functions.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The private sector forum met on 8 July to discuss issues emerging from the competing for quality programme. The forum provided an opportunity for the Government and the private sector to exchange experience on the progress of the competing for quality programme so far. No individual market tests were discussed, nor any specifics of Departments' future plans. We will be considering how to take these discussions forward with the private sector. I do not prejudge whether an activity should be contracted out strategically. For each activity which is examined in the competing for quality programme, a number of options, including abolition, privatisation, contracting out, market testing with an in-house bid, and securing in-house efficiencies are considered.