Over the next few years councils across the country will be bringing in compulsory competitive tendering for a range of professional services - legal, finance, construction and property, personnel and information technology.
To ensure that the transition to the competitive market goes smoothly the department of the environment is holding a series of seminars for prospective contractors in Birmingham, Manchester, London, Leeds, Cambridge, Torquay and Newcastle from October to February.
Sir Paul will be introducing the seminars in London and Torquay and at each event there will be speakers from local authorities, the department of the environment and the business community.
'The success of CCT is now firmly established. It has allowed councils to save money and provide improved services across a range of areas such as waste management, catering and ground maintenance.
'We are now opening up professional services to market competition and that will enable local authorities to give their taxpayers the best and most efficient services possible.
'But this can only happen if the specialist private sector companies understand the new fields in which they will be competing.
'There are exciting opportunities across the range of professional CCT services and we want to make sure that contractors are well informed and able to compete fairly and squarely for the work.'
At each seminar department of the environment speakers will set CCT in its political and legislative context. Leading speakers from local authorities will provide guidance on what they are looking for from potential partners. Speakers from the private sector, already working in CCT, will give the view from the contractors side.
The seminar dates are:
Birmingham - Friday 13 October at the Government Office for the West Midlands
Manchester - Friday 20 October Manchester Conference Centre, Western Building.
London - Thursday 26 October
Leeds - Friday 3 November
Cambridge - Friday 19 January
Torquay - Friday 26 January
Newcastle - Friday 2 February.