§ Mr. Milburn
To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many contracts his Department has had with consultants; and what has been the total cost in each year since 1979–80. 
Mr. John M. Taylor
[holding answer 11 February 1997]: The number of external consultancy contracts let centrally by the Department of Trade and Industry, 1995–96, plus value—including contract amendments—is as follows:
Year Number Value (£) 1995 81 5,600,000 1996 45 1,368,000
For information on contracts let centrally in 1990 to 1994, I refer to the answer given to the hon. Member on 18 July 1995, Official Report, column 1219.
Details for the years 1979 to 1989 can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The information given does not include contracts let by the Department's executive agencies, and I have asked the chief executives to reply separately to this question.
Letter from Peter Joyce to Mr. Alan Milburn, dated 13 February 1997:The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply to your question about the number of contracts The Insolvency Service has let to consultants and their total cost in each year since 1979–80.Prior to 1994 contracts for consultants were let by the Department of Trade and Industry, and information relating to 1992 and 1993 was provided in the answer to Parliamentary Question No.146 put down by Ms Diane Abbott MP and dated 25 January 1994 (Columns 211–217). Information on consultancies prior to 1992 can only now be provided at disproportionate cots.279WDetails of those consultants The Service has engaged in each financial year since 1 April 1993, together with their costs, are:
Year Organisation Value (including VAT)£ 1993–94 KPMG 45,000 Ernst and Young 107,800 BDO Stoy Hayward 76,670 1994–95 Price Waterhouse 124,800 BDO Stoy Hayward 94,154 Coopers and Lybrand 60,000 Bond Pearce 10,100 Ernst and Young 14,776 Shreeveport 129,000 1995–96 Shreeveport 460,492 Bevan Ashford 35,653 Bond Pearce 6,392 Ernst and Young 7,284
Letter from Jim Norton to Mr. Alan Milburn, dated 13 February 1997:
EXTERNAL CONSULTANTS ENGAGED BY THE RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS AGENCY
Mr Taylor, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Corporate and Consumer Affairs, has asked me to reply on behalf of the Radiocommunications Agency to your Parliamentary Question about external consultants.
The number, and cost, of contracts let by the Agency to external consultants since it assumed responsibility from the DTI for doing so is as follows:
- FY 94/95 six contracts valued at £238k;
- FY 95/96 eight contracts valued at £256k;
- FY 96/97 six contracts (to date) valued at £380k.
Letter from John Holden to Mr. Alan Milburn, dated 13 February 1997:You recently tabled a Parliamentary Question to the President of the Board of Trade on consultancy contracts. I am replying as Chief Executive of Companies House Executive Agency.In my letter in response to your similar question tabled on 14 October 1996, I set out the cost, at 1996/97 prices, of consultancy services provided to Companies House since 1992/93. The amounts in cash terms (ie money of the day) were as follows:
Year £ thousand 1992–93 293 1993–94 172 1994–95 122 1995–96 199I regret that the information for earlier years can only be provided at disproportionate cost, since 1992/93 was the first full year for which Companies House operated its own free standing accounting systems. Companies House's use of consultants is mainly for specialist IT design and implementation and structural building matters. The expenditure is incurred with varying numbers of diverse specialists and the number of contracts with consultants (as opposed to the actual expenditure itself) cannot be determined with any accuracy within the time available. For example, in 1995/96 alone, some 90 payments are recorded on the accounting system. The overall pattern is one of a large number of relatively small payments, and it would take disproportionate effort to allocate each of these to particular contracts over the period.280W
Letter from Seton Bennett to Mr. Alan Milburn, dated 13 February 1997:The President of the Board of Trade has asked me to reply on behalf of the National Weights and Measures Laboratory (NWML) to your question about the contracts his Department has had with consultants.1990/91 is the first year for which separate figures for NWML are available and the figures for the years since then are as follows:
Year Number of contracts Total cost (£000) 1990–91 0 — 1991–92 0 — 1992–93 1 7 1993–94 1 20 1994–95 0 — 1995–96 1 4 1996–97 0 —
Letter from P. R. S. Hartnack to Mr. Alan Milburn, dated 13 February 1997:I am replying for the Patent Office to your Parliamentary Question to the President of the Board of Trade about contracts placed with consultants.The Patent Office has let 27 such contracts since 1990. The cost in each year has been 1990 £3,500, 1991 £4,700, 1992 £45,000, 1993 £46,000, 1994 £80,000, 1995 £138,000 and 1996 £99,700. I am unable to provide information for years earlier than 1990 without disproportionate cost.