Latest Rail News

07.12.12

NAO calls for lessons to be learnt over West Coast

The West Coast franchising process lacked management oversight and had confused governance, a new report by the National Audit Office has suggested.

The full cost of the mistakes to the taxpayer is as yet unknown, but the NAO stated that this will be at least £1.9m in staff and advisor costs, £2.7m in legal costs and £4.3m on external advisors for reviews commissioned.

The DfT has already suggested that the cost of reimbursing failed bidders on the contract will be £40m.

The new report highlights five essential safeguards to be implemented against poor decision making in major projects.

It identifies that the West Coast franchise process broke down due to insufficiently clear objectives, delayed issuing of the invitation to tender, confusion around the subordinated loan facility and no extra quality assurance. Additionally, there was no one person who oversaw the whole process.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “Cancelling a major rail franchise competition at such a late stage is a clear sign of serious problems. The result is likely to be a significant cost to the taxpayer.

“The failure of essential safeguards raises questions about the Department’s broader management approach, as well as this specific matter. 

“It is commendable that, once it uncovered the problems on the franchise, the Department sought to be open about what happened and to investigate further. Among the lessons to be learnt is that staff with line-management responsibilities should be clear that assurance processes are not a substitute for proper supervision and management controls.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

(Image: Philip Toscano / PA Wire)

Comments

John   07/12/2012 at 15:09

This is what we finally learn from years of Government Mismanagement and Incompetance - especially previous governments. Sadly, those responsible will not be held to account but will be paid off at the expense of the Public Purse whilst all the Consultants, Champagne Charlies and General Hangers - on will re group for another payout! We still have Bus Companies running the Trains and not one of us will see a better service only a worse one at higher prices in scruffy unreliable trains. It's outrageous!

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