Monday, 29 October 2012

Official Railway Eye Laidlaw Joke

Welcome to the Official Railway Eye Laidlaw Joke!

And here it is:

Q: How come everyone who knows how to run the railway is either cutting hair, driving a taxi or in a 'matrix'?

A: "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."


ICWC - Unleash the NAO

This from the National Audit Office...

Work in progress: Cancellation of the competition for the Intercity West Coast franchise

Study outline

The Secretary of State for Transport announced today (29 October 2012) the interim findings of the Laidlaw Inquiry into the reasons for the cancellation of the competition for the Intercity West Coast franchise. The Department has also given the National Audit Office access to many of the documents and other evidence supplied to the Laidlaw Inquiry. On the basis of that examination we can confirm that the information that we have seen supports the initial findings made by the Laidlaw Inquiry on what happened and the contributory factors. 

As the Laidlaw Inquiry has highlighted, there are limitations on the conclusions that we too can draw at this stage.  We are conducting further inquiries and once these are completed, we will report to Parliament to provide assurance including on the extent to which wider issues are raised  and are likely to affect the Department’s other projects and programmes, for example concerning:
  • the Department’s approach to developing and quality assuring models and other technical tools which it uses;
  • the operation of key committees including the information provided to them and how decisions are recorded;
  • the rigour with which the Department follows required processes; and
  • the skills and capacity available to run projects and programmes.

Reporting schedule

We aim to publish this report before Christmas 2012.


DfT: Statement on Laidlaw Inquiry

This from the Department for Transport...

West Coast Main Line: Laidlaw Inquiry interim findings...    
The independent inquiry into the Department for Transport’s handling of the franchise competition to run the West Coast Main Line has submitted an initial findings report to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

In the interests of transparency, Mr McLoughlin has today published that report, alongside a covering letter, and this afternoon delivered an update to Parliament about this report and wider progress on ensuring continuity of service on the West Coast Main Line.

Sam Laidlaw, the senior business figure and DfT non-executive director leading this independent review, has asked the DfT to release the following statement on behalf of his inquiry:

    “In the limited time available this is necessarily only a preliminary report. What is clear however is that in seeking to run a complex and novel franchising competition process, an accumulation of significant errors, described in the report, resulted in a flawed process.

    “These errors appear to have been caused by factors including inadequate planning and preparation, a complex organisational structure and a weak governance and quality assurance framework. The full causes and the lessons to be learnt will be addressed in the final report of my independent Inquiry to be published at the end of November.

    “Firm judgments should not be made based upon what are provisional findings or wider conclusions drawn at this stage.”


No mention of the "inconsistency in treatment of ICWC bidders" referred to by the SoS in the House.

UPDATE: Interim version of Laidlaw Inquiry report published here.

McLoughlin to issue ICWC statement this afternoon

So. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is appearing before the House of Commons today to give an update on the InterCity West Coast franchising fiasco.

Interesting that this is taking place two days before he is due to attend the Transport Select Committee with Philip Rutnam, the DfT's Permanent Secretary.

Also interesting that this announcement was not scheduled in Commons' business until 13:00 today (in the slot reserved for 'Ministerial Statements' - probably some time after 16:30).

And finally it is worth noting that this statement is taking place after Sam Laidlaw was due to present the interim results of his Inquiry into the West Coast fiasco last Friday.

With various comings and goings expected at Marsham Street in advance of this afternoon's statement it could all get very interesting.

Eye survey cancelled - Official Statement

Following disclosure of significant failings in Eye's latest survey on IEP costs the following statement has been issued:

IEP cost comparator survey cancelled

The Fact Compiler has today announced that the survey on IEP costs has been cancelled following the discovery of significant technical flaws in the way the process was conducted.

The decision means that Railway Eye readers will no longer be able to vote on comparative costs between IEP and Pendolino vehicle diagrammes in a poll due to expire on the 31st October. It is consequently no longer contesting the judicial review sought by Mr Kipling in the High Court (Is this right!?! Ed).

The flaws uncovered relate to the way the survey process was conducted on Railway Eye. An announcement will be made later today concerning the suspension of staff while an investigation takes place.

Railway Eye is resolving urgently the future arrangements for Eye surveys and will ensure that a normal service of bile and invective continue uninterrupted. The Fact Compiler stressed today that passengers and tax payers will continue to be ill served by the Incredibly Expensive Procurement.

The Fact Compiler has also:

  • ordered two independent reviews to be undertaken urgently: the first into what went wrong with the Eye poll and the lessons to be learned (note this will be significantly delayed, if it appears at all), the second into the wider use of surveys on Railway Eye, both overseen by leading business figures...
Cont' for the next 94 months at least...