§ Mr. Peter Ainsworth
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list those contracts with a value in excess of £1 million entered into by the New Millennium Experience Company which have not complied with public procurement procedures. 
§ Janet Anderson
[holding answer 11 December 2000]: Public procurement procedures are based on the presumption that competitive tendering should apply as the norm but recognise that in certain, exceptional circumstances single tender procurement is justified providing that value for money and probity criteria are met.
In these respects the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has advised that it has complied with public procurement procedures in the thousands of procurements of goods, works and services undertaken for the Millennium Experience project. Over 90 per cent. of procurements have been by competitive tender. Of those that have been single tender 10 were in excess of £1 million. Of those five were awarded to companies who had previously won work on the project through competitive tendering processes and were judged, for130W
The table shows separately the number of defendants whose cases were discontinued in magistrates courts, and the number of defendants whose cases were dropped in the Crown court before a jury was sworn. The table also expresses these figures as a proportion of cases completed in each year.
Discontinuance has remained stable at around 12 per cent. to 13 per cent. of cases completed in magistrates courts during the period under review. However, the proportion of cases dropped in the Crown court has increased over recent years, from 7.2 per cent. in 1997 to 11.9 per cent. in the period January-September 2000. This is believed to be because the abolition of live committals in April 1997 removed the opportunity of testing prosecution witnesses before a case reaches the Crown court.
Charges in criminal proceedings are initially brought by the police rather than the Director of Public Prosecutions. Each case that the police send to the Crown Prosecution Service is then reviewed by a Crown Prosecutor to ensure that it meets the criteria for a prosecution set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
reasons of urgency and value for money, best placed to carry out necessary additional works and services. The single tender contracts awarded are:
August 1998:Crown House—the Dome's Central Area and other area Secondary Mechanical work. (Crown had previously won a competitive tender).
August 1998:N. G. Bailey—the Dome's Central Area electrical works (N. G. Bailey had previously won a competitive tender).
October 1998:WCT Live—Design and event services.
May 1999:Park Avenue Productions—Fit out of Global Zone (Park Avenue had won a competitive tender for design work on other zones but were subsequently moved to Global.
August 1999:At Work/Carlton Beck—Additional zone exhibits relevant to the Shared Ground zone (At Work had won a competitive tender for design work on other zones).
August 1999:SCS Interactive In-Timekeepers soft play zone.
June 1999:131WTiger Aspect—the Blackadder Film written and produced specifically for the Dome.
September 2000:PricewaterhouseCoopers—Management and finance support for the Company's final quarter of operation, close down and decommissioning.
October 2000:McAlpine Laing Joint Venture—Decommissioning work (The Joint Venture had previously won a competitive tender to project manage the construction of the Dome).
November 2000:Henry Butcher (Auctioneers and Valuers)—Removal and sale of NMEC assets. Part of the value of the contract is based on a standard percentage of realisation value.
There is an ongoing need for specialist professional advice and support as the New Millennium Experience Company progresses towards wind down of the Company, disposal of assets and decommissioning work. It is possible that the costs of certain other professional advisers (especially legal), who were appointed on grounds of urgency in the autumn may exceed £1 million by completion of wind down and decommissioning. In each case where this occurs the Company will continue to ensure that the rates charged are competitive, that value for money is delivered and that the necessary processes applicable to the extension of contracts in these circumstances are implemented.