Quality score holds key to ferry tender
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.’