Contracting Out (Functions in relation to Apsley House) Order 2002

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Miss McIntosh: Is the Minister able to assure the Committee that a member of the family will be on each of the trusts that bid?

Dr. Howells: I have made it clear that we hope for a wide bidding process. Several trusts will bid for the contract. I have told the hon. Lady about one such trust, but we do not know about any of the others. Therefore, I cannot give her the assurance that she seeks. Clearly, it would be nice if we could have a degree of continuity, but we must apply strict rules to the bidding process.

4.44 pm

Nick Harvey (North Devon): I, too, welcome the order. If the Victoria and Albert museum does not want to continue its role—for understandable reasons—this is a logical way to proceed.

Does the Minister expect funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to continue at approximately the same level as at present, or does he want to make savings over time? He mentioned that the contract will run initially for five years. Is the new arrangement a long-term solution? How will he review the financial commitment of the Department when considering the performance of the successful bidder?

4.45 pm

Dr. Howells: I assure the hon. Gentleman that we will watch the finances carefully, and we do not envisage a diminution in the finances. As the marketing and activity of Apsley house improves,

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however, we anticipate that a greater part of funding will come from sources other than direct moneys that my Department pays to the house.

The hon. Gentleman is right. We propose that the first contract should be for five years. We shall consider matters carefully, and the criteria might change over that time. For example, we have noticed a 1,000 per cent. increase in the number of children and school parties going to Apsley house over the past couple of years, which is phenomenal. It has suddenly

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become recognised as a place where people can learn about the lives not only of the great and the good and of one of the great heroes of British military history, but of servants who lived at the house. There are not many places where that is possible. We are determined that those new experiences for children should increase and continue.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the draft Contracting Out (Functions in relation to Apsley House) Order 2002.

        Committee rose at fourteen minutes to Five o'clock.

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        Cummings, Mr. John (


        Brown, Mr. Russell

        Cameron, Mr.

        Cousins, Mr.

        Harvey, Nick

        Howarth, Alan

        Howells, Dr.

        Kemp, Mr.

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        Lazarowicz, Mr.

        McIntosh, Miss Anne

        Murphy, Mr. Denis

        Owen, Albert

        Rammell, Mr.

        Robertson, Mr. Laurence

        Russell, Bob

        Taylor, Mr. Ian

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Prepared 6 February 2002