Qual­ity score holds key to ferry ten­der

The Oban Times - - News -

THE long awaited ten­der doc­u­ment for the £1 bil­lion con­tract to run the Clyde and He­brides ferry ser­vices was pub­lished on Mon­day.

Unions have sig­nalled their de­light at the high value the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment has placed on the qual­ity of the ser­vice. This, they be­lieve, may re­duce the prof­its to be made from the ser­vice, thus mak­ing it less at­trac­tive to a pri­vate sec­tor bid­der.

A copy of the Ini­tial In­vi­ta­tion To Ten­der (ITT) was is­sued to both bid­ders, CalMac Fer­ries Ltd and Serco Cale­do­nian Fer­ries Lim­ited last Fri­day, July 31. Both op­er­a­tors have to sub­mit their fi­nal bids by De­cem­ber 2015, as the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment wants to award the con­tract by May 2016.

The ten­der cri­te­ria will be scored on the ba­sis of 65 per cent on cost and 35 per cent on qual­ity of ser­vice. Unions hope this may put off the pri­vate sec­tor bid­der, Serco, be­cause profit thresh­olds would be re­duced on the ser­vice.

Holy­rood min­is­ter for trans­port and is­lands, Derek Mackay MSP, said: ‘We have promised to make this pro­cure­ment process fair, open and trans­par­ent, so we are pub­lish­ing the Ini­tial ITT doc­u­ment to hon­our that pledge.

‘ We will have an in­terim ver­sion of the ITT doc­u­ment in the Au­tumn be­fore we is­sue the fi­nal ver­sion in De­cem­ber 2015.

‘ We are in the process of ap­point­ing an in­de­pen­dent Pro­cure­ment Ref­er­ence Panel, which will re­view both the Ini­tial ITT and In­terim ITT in or­der to pro­vide as­sur­ance that noth­ing is be­ing done in the Clyde and He­brides Ferry ser­vices pro­cure­ment that could be per­ceived as dis­crim­i­nat­ing against ei­ther of the ten­ders.

‘It is also im­por­tant to re­it­er­ate that Scot­tish Min­is­ters will re­tain con­trol of all of im­por­tant is­sues, such as fares and timeta­bles, through the public ser­vice con­tract. Ves­sels and port in­fra­struc­ture will also re­main pub­licly owned as they are now. I’m well aware of the vi­tal role these ferry ser­vices play in en­abling con­tin­ued and sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth for the is­lands.’

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