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Water Supply: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The reasons for the disbandment of the council are set out in the consultation report on the integrated impact assessment of reform of water and sewerage services (December 2005), paragraphs 4.43 to 4.54. The primary functions of the council were set out in Article 58 of the Water (NI) Order 1999, being to advise relevant departments on the exercise of their functions under that order and the Water and Sewerage Services (NI) Order 1973. Under new legislation the water industry will be subject to regulation by the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation as the economic and consumer regulator and the Environment and Heritage Service as environmental regulator. The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland will act as consumer representative.

Waterways Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: To ensure that the contractors competing for these contracts had suitable experience and resources to undertake the works and complied with Directive 97/52/EC (bankruptcy conditions) suitability questions, based on guidelines concerning the conditions of contract for roads and civil engineering, were compiled by Waterways Ireland for the Begnagh Bridge and by Roughan & O'Donovan (Consulting Engineers) for the Longford Bridge. Each organisation assessed whether the respective tenders met those suitability criteria. From the suitable tenders the most economically advantageous tender was then selected.

Current indications are that the Longford Bridge contract will be slightly above the tender sum and that the Begnagh Bridge contract will be within the tender price.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I understand from Waterways Ireland that the organisation review was let by public tender. Forty-nine consultants requested tender information packs and 11 valid tenders were received.

The organisational review steering group had approved a scoring mechanism prior to the receipt of the tenders. The tenders were evaluated using the agreed scoring mechanism. The tender was awarded to the consultants who achieved the best overall score.

The cost of the successful tender was £36,000 excluding VAT.


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