Tender price is not everything: Letter

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The Independent Online
Sir: Paul Gosling ("The cheaper, the better", 1 May) reported Sir Paul Beresford's and the Department of the Environment's intentions concerning the present compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) regime.

If "the DoE [takes a] decisive step to push councils to award more out- of-house work by shifting the emphasis from quality to price", this will severely compromise the procurement of quality professional services where precise tender specifications cannot be prepared and the method of delivery is of paramount importance to ensuring quality of public service.

But Sir Paul, as Environment Minister, should already know just how important quality is. His department produced that excellent discussion document Quality in Town and Country, promoted enthusiastically at seminars attended by his Secretary of State, John Gummer. Let us hope that the DoE adopts compatible and integrated policies on the environment and associated professional services procurement so that we can really celebrate the millennium.

David Yorke


Royal Institute of British Architects, Northwest Region

Knutsford, Cheshire