A breakdown of costs of the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) investigation into the Peverel / Cirrus price-fixing scandal has been handed to Sir Peter Bottomley.
It shows the cost of the investigation is £458,000, accounting for 10,660 hours of work.
The costs were outlined after a meeting with the OFT on August 22 chaired by Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary and MP for Kingston and Surbiton, with Sir Peter Bottomley and a representative from the SFO. The meeting was held at the instigation of Carlex.
The letter below is from OFT official Cavendish Elithorn:
In response to your e-mail below, I can provide the following information:
Costs and hours
I set out the estimated costs for each of the financial years 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 to the estimated decision date. These numbers are based on staff allocation against the project since it was formally launched in April 2011. We do not record hours spent, so we have used standard assumptions to estimate approximate hours spent on the project. We have not included estimates of time spent over contracted hours.
OFT investigation costs
04/11 to 03/12
04/12 to 03/13
Forecast 04/13 to decision
Internal transition between Groups
The investigation was formally opened in the Goods and Consumer Group in April 2011 and it was the Goods and Consumer Group that took the investigation through the OFT’s governance structure prior to this to get it approved for launch. There is not a formal transition point between the Goods and Consumer Group or the Cartels Group of this as a potential investigation as leniency applications can be considered in any Group that does competition enforcement – depending on resources available – we work with flexible group boundaries to maximise efficiency.
The supervisory team structure at OFT is Team Leader, Project Director and Senior Responsible Officer (SRO). These roles formally commence at the point of the investigation opening although some of these staff are usually involved in advance in preparing for the decision to launch the investigation. I have been the SRO since the formal launch, although it was my predecessor in the role (Heather Clayton) who took the project through the OFT’s governance structure.
There have been three project directors. Robert McDougall from launch until December 2011. Then it was Aileen Armstrong until July 2012 and it has been Andrew Groves since then. The Team Leader position was filled in May 2013 by Yael Shine who has been team leader since then.
Mr Boyd’s [Carlex] information Request
Finally on your last point, Mr Boyd’s request is in excess of the FoIA cost limit, but I have written to him explaining what information we can potentially provide and what we cannot were he to refine the request to bring it within the cost limit. I also made some suggestions as to how it might be brought within the cost limit but it appears from his most recent correspondence that he doesn’t wish to take us up on that offer.
I hope the above provides answers to your questions, if not, I would be happy to elaborate. Please could you also let me know if you would like to receive a formal response to your e-mail under the Freedom of Information Act as well.