Contracts (Supervision).

Oral Answers to Questions — Aircraft Production. – in the House of Commons on 11th February 1942.

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Photo of Captain Bertie Kirby Captain Bertie Kirby , Liverpool Everton

asked the Minister of Aircraft Production whether he can make a statement upon the practice of his Department in relation to the supervision of contracts let to private firms, and to the check exercised by his accountants or other representatives upon the costing charges of such contractors in relation to the use of materials, delivery of orders, number of men employed, and the number of hours worked; and whether he is satisfied that contractors cannot be overpaid in relation to the goods supplied, and/or services rendered, at any point during the running period of the contract?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel John Moore-Brabazon Lieut-Colonel John Moore-Brabazon , Wallasey

Contract prices are in most cases fixed in the light of estimates by technical and accountant officers of the man-hours, labour costs, quantities and costs of materials and overhead expenses involved; subsequently, checks by accountants control progress payments. The small proportion of contracts paid for on a cost basis is subject to the same general supervision, and, in addition, the ascertained costs are checked by accountants employed by the Department. Progress payments are made to finance contractors on account of and within expenditure actually involved during the running period of the contract. The human element has on a very few occasions resulted in overpayment, which, in every case, it has been possible to set off against further earnings. All claims for progress payments are required to be certified by a responsible representative of the contractor, and are subject to periodical test checks by the Department's accountants.

Photo of Captain Bertie Kirby Captain Bertie Kirby , Liverpool Everton

While I am obliged to the Minister for the reply he has given, might I ask whether before these progress payments are made, a check is made by the Ministry in every case?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel John Moore-Brabazon Lieut-Colonel John Moore-Brabazon , Wallasey

Yes, Sir. I think that is true.

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Aberdeen North

Why should blunders always be referred to "the human element"?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel John Moore-Brabazon Lieut-Colonel John Moore-Brabazon , Wallasey

Because blunders are committed by human beings.

Photo of Mr Ronw Hughes Mr Ronw Hughes , Carmarthen

Is the check based upon inspection of the contractors' books during the course of the contract?