West Coast Mainline decision highlights need for commissioning review

03 October 2012

A re-run of the bidding process for the West Coast Mainline following a ‘flaw in the contract’ highlights the need for a review of commissioning as a whole, Swanswell believes.

The national charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to news today that the government has scrapped the decision to award the multi-billion pound contract to FirstGroup due to ‘mistakes that had been made by staff within the Department for Transport’ (reports BBC News).

It’s estimated that £40 million is needed to reimburse the costs of the four companies who entered the bidding process.

Back in August, when discussing the West Coast Mainline during BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions (17 August), Swanswell’s Chief Executive Debbie Bannigan highlighted this ‘massive, crazy process of commissioning’.

Following today’s news, she added: ‘Today’s news highlights the need for a review into the whole commissioning process – not just transport - because instances like this cost the organisations involved and the tax payer money in what is a difficult economic climate.

The commissioning process generally can be very lengthy, expensive and time consuming, and there is no recompense for organisations who have put the same time and effort in as the winning bidder. While this may be written off as an acceptable commercial risk, if  the cost to the whole economy far outweighs the benefit  to the public services we are seeking to provide, the whole process needs to be reviewed.’

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