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Government Departments: Procurement

House of Lords written question – answered on 19th October 2012.

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Photo of Lord Bates Lord Bates Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to increase the transparency of past public spending on government procurement cards in the Department for Communities and Local Government.

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the value for money and efficiency of past spending on government procurement cards in the Department for Communities and Local Government and its predecessor departments.

Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Sir Philip Green's report into government efficiency in October 2010 criticised insufficient monitoring and poor spending controls on such corporate charge cards. Under the coalition, the Department for Communities and Local Government has been at the forefront of the transparency agenda and publishing open data on spending. We have also published historic data, including transactions on government procurement cards, to help identify wasteful spending and to place current spending patterns in context.

Combined with introducing tougher spending controls on card holders, this new transparency regime has helped the department reduce our card spending by over three-quarters, from £321,076 a year in 2009-10, to just £70,835 in 2011-12.

Such online scrutiny has highlighted wasteful and profligate spending. It is the opinion of Ministers in this Administration that a number of transactions do not represent value for money for the taxpayer. As noted in previous parliamentary answers, pertinent examples include ministerial meetings at the Wolseley and Boisdales, (24 October 2011, Hansard, Commons, col. 62W); an away day at a venue offering burlesque entertainment (13 July 2011, Hansard, Commons, col. 361W) and hospitality at Sky City Casino in New Zealand and Star City Casino in Australia (3 November 2011, Hansard, Commons, col. 784W) and (17 January 2012, Official Report, col. WA 122).

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