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Local government reorganisation should not prevent shire county and district authorities from continuing to gain th...
Local government reorganisation should not prevent shire county and district authorities from continuing to gain the benefits of Compulsory Competitive Tendering (CCT). But new authorities must not be unduly held by their predecessor authorities arrangements, Environment Minister Tony Baldry said today.

All high value, long term contracts will, therefore, continue to be exempted from CCT for the period previously announced. But shorter term and smaller contracts of less that 12 months in length or £200,000 per annum in value will continue to be subject to CCT.

In answer to a Parliamentary Question from David Faber MP (Westbury), Mr Baldry said: 'My Department's announcement to the House on 29 March (Col.56) that shire counties and districts being reorganised following review by the Local Government Commission would not be required to conduct CCT for manual services during the reorganisation was widely welcomed by local authorities.

The acceleration of the Commission's review programme requires some modification to these arrangements. Our objective is that authorities should, wherever possible continue to subject services to the pressures of competition which can bring so many benefits. However, we would not wish to see new authorities tied to inappropriate arrangements made by their predecessors.

'I therefore intend that, for all high value, long term contracts, the exemption already announced should remain unchanged. This will commence when Parliament approves changes in an area and end eighteen months after the new authority comes into being.

'For short term, low value contracts, I have concluded that CCT should continue to apply throughout the reorganisation period. Tendering for this work is a matter of routine practice, and new authorities would not be hampered by continuing with arrangements made by their predecessors for a short period. I therefore intend that the exemption will not apply where the period over which work is to be carried out is less than twelve months or the value of that work is less than £200,000 per annum.

'My Officials have today written to the Secretaries of the Associations of County Councils and Association of District Councils giving further details of these modifications and those which my Rt. Hon. Friend and Minister for Housing and Construction and I announced on Wednesday for white-collar and housing management services.

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