Wednesday, 12 January 2011

West Coast franchise - and they're off!

This from Billy Connections...

The West Coast franchise documentation is now available on the DfT website.

For students of such things there is an interesting paragraph in the Pre Qualification Process Document:

In addition, the Department will assess any past failure to deliver on contractual commitments, including those of price and quality, whether arising from over-optimistic bidding or from poor management. In the case of rail franchise contracts this will apply to those let since January 2001. Where the Department considers that a severe incidence of failure to deliver contractual commitments may have occurred it will review the circumstances against the following four indicators: the significance of the contractual breach; the time elapsed since the breach occurred; the relevance of the circumstances to UK passenger rail franchising; and the materiality of any estimated financial loss to the taxpayer or counterparty. The Department reserves the right to exclude an Applicant where it considers that a severe past failure to deliver contractual commitments has occurred.

With DB owned Arriva having singularly failed to deliver the promised WiFi to Cross Country passengers will this rule out the Hunish Hordes from the West Coast competition?

If not then how big a "failure to deliver on contractual commitments" does a potential bidder have to make before it is barred?

UPDATE: This from Ithuriel...

For an exclusion to stand up in law, DfT will have to demonstrate a clear process for evaluating the significance of the 'four indicators'.

They can't just do a Lord Adonis in Peggy Mitchell mode rant, as with National Express East Coast and say 'You're barred'

Will there be a numeric scale, with each indicator scored and a maximum total above with bids will be excluded?

Should be worth half a million in legal and accounting fees making the exclusion process water-tight.

And since the Department is determined to have its revenge on Virgin, why isn't there a fifth indicator covering past negotiation with threats (Virgin's use of the PUG2 nuclear option) and a sixth for ungentlemanly behaviour (exploiting DfT's poor negotiating skills)?