Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 420-422)



  420. If you cannot answer this perhaps you can give us a note. I am sure you cannot answer this question, colleagues are interested in knowing how much of the total income earned by the firm of solicitors involved in the shredding process was paid by the Teesside Corporation? Colleagues are interested in knowing how the firm of solicitors was chosen, in particular was the contract put out to tender?
  (Mr Hall) Right.

  421. Perhaps you can provide us with a note on those matters?
  (Mr Hall) I will do that.[15]

  422. Gentlemen, it has been a very long session and we are very grateful to you, indeed, for your patience in answering our questions. I know Sir Richard this has been a very busy week for you, indeed a very busy day. Having said that, although we are sympathetic to your difficulties, may I just underline the Committee does view these matters with great concern and we will shortly be publishing a Report in which we hope to provide some recommendations which will enable you and your successor to ensure that in future non-departmental public bodies neither bend the rules nor break the rules. Is that a fair comment? Do you want to have the very last word?
  (Sir Richard Mottram) I do not want to have the last word. I came before the Committee entirely prepared to answer for the stewardship of all of the accounting officers and I hope I did that.

  Chairman: The public session is closed.

15   Note by witness: I am given to understand that competitive tenders were invited for the provision of legal services in the early 1990s. Following this exercise three firms were appointed, Nabarro Nathanson of London; Richardson, Boyle & Blackmore of London; and at local level Messrs Punch Robson. I understand that throughout the life of the Corporation competitive rates were sought at both national and local level for legal services. It should be noted that all consultants, including legal services were subject to review and report throughout the life of the Corporation. These reports prepared each quarter were submitted to the Board and a separate copy posted directly to the Regional Office of the Department as part of the monitoring procedures. These reports identified all payments made during the quarter and were subject to external audit that reported upon the outcome of these reviews in each of their annual statements. I am unable to supply details of the total income earned by the firm of solicitors and indeed other firms as the Corporation wound up some four years ago. However having regard to the above comments upon the monitoring procedures the information should be available. Back

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Prepared 14 August 2002