Director of Works

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons Commission – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th June 1991.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow 12:00 am, 24th June 1991

To ask the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to his answer of 10 May, Official Report, column 603, what evaluation he has made of the value for money of paying the sum referred to to Saxon Bampfylde as headhunters in order to select a new director of works for the Palace of Westminster.

Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)

(On behalf of the House of Commons Commissioners): The Commission itself decided that management consultants should be used to assist in making an appointment to the important new post of director of works. The firm concerned was chosen from a list of six originally approached. The price charged was at the lower end of the tenders and I understand that the firm performed its duties very well. I expect an announcement of the name of the director of works to be made shortly.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow

What evidence does the hon. Gentleman have for using the words, "very well"? The firm having netted a cool £20,500 from the taxpayer, should not the House expect that in that which is done in its name a certain courtesy of confidence should be extended to candidates asked to apply by civil servants and permanent secretaries who have known them for a long time?

Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)

There were more than 200 applicants for that post and the consultants did a great deal of work in looking at the applications. If the hon. Gentleman has come across an unsatisfactory communication of some kind, I should be happy to look into the matter.

Photo of Mr John Garrett Mr John Garrett , Norwich South

On recruitment, will the hon. Gentleman reconsider the reply that he gave me on 14 May, when he would not tell me what the educational qualifications were for the Clerk's Department?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

That is a bit wide of the question.

Photo of Alan Beith Alan Beith Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)

I was going to point out, Mr. Speaker, that that supplementary did not arise from the original question.