DfT slammed for franchise failings

30 October 2012 The Department for Transport (DfT) has been lambasted for a series of failures in its handling of the West Coast Mainline franchise procurement.
The deal with First Group had to be scrapped at the start of the month after it emerged there had been a series of failings in the way the procurement was handled by officials.

An interim report on the process revealed a lack of transparency in the bidding process, inconsistencies in the treatment of bidders, technical flaws in the model used to calculate levels of risk, and the fact that published guidance was not complied with when the bids were being processed.

“To be blunt, these initial findings make uncomfortable reading but they provide a necessary and welcome further step in sorting this out,” said Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

“The government will need to see the full and finished report before it can comment in detail on any conclusions.”

He also revealed that the government’s negotiations with existing franchise holder Virgin to continue operating the line for up to 14 months are “making good progress”.

The full review of the West Coast mainline procurement process is due to be published by the end of November. A separate inquiry is being held into lessons to be learned from the West Coast procurement that can be applied to future franchise deals.

This page was last updated on:
9 October 2014.

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