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I don’t understand why ‘the MacBrayne group would …

Comment posted Streamline challenge on Northern Ferries tender underlines paralysis of MacBrayne group by Robert Wakeham.

I don’t understand why ‘the MacBrayne group would certainly face some difficulty in challenging any contract award’ – Why? Surely the tendering process has by law to be a level playing field, and if Northlink (which is surely more than just MacBrayne) were to find fault with the contract award they’d be just as free as any other tenderer to object. This is a government tender involving public money and must be organised fairly, or the media will have a field day and the Transport Minister will have some explaining to do. That’s quite apart from what the European authorities might see fit to do.

Robert Wakeham also commented

  • Are you sure you’re not over-egging the pudding? With two separate Northlink services (Stromness – Scrabster and Kirkwall – Aberdeen / Lerwick, the Pentland Ferries route from St Margaret’s Hope to Gills Bay, and the freight ferry between Kirkwall and Aberdeen / Lerwick, to the outside observer it looks as if Orkney enjoys good lifeline ferry services.
  • I hope we’re not getting into some sort of Scottish public sector giant pile of sleaze centred on inadequately defined process in tendering for large public transport contracts. It could be stretching from the megabungling of the Edinburgh tram system procurument disaster at one end of the scale to the microbungling of the Gourock – Kilcreggan – Helensburgh ferry links at the other, taking in the Gourock – Dunoon affair and the ongoing saga of Calmac routes retendering on the way. Not sure about the quality of the second Forth Road Bridge contract, but time will tell.
  • There should be no reason on earth why any of the bidders for the contract should be prevented from challenging the outcome of the tendering process, if they consider themselves hard done by.
    The specific offers for ‘extras’, and of any conditions imposed by bidders – beyond what’s specified in the tender – should be public knowledge, and if they’re not then surely that’s cause enough for any or all of the losing bidders to challenge the outcome; the whole process should be transparent, and that popular let-out ‘commercial confidentiality’ shouldn’t be used as an excuse to conceal any controversial aspects of the process.

Recent comments by Robert Wakeham

  • With Heb Isles in for repairs, CalMac charters replacement vessel to reduce underprovision for Islay
    Scott Smith – you give the impression that you have advance knowledge of future vessel deployments, but you get your dates, boats and places jumbled up. Any chance you could clarify these, please?
  • With Heb Isles in for repairs, CalMac charters replacement vessel to reduce underprovision for Islay
    A movable mezzanine deck that can’t be repaired unless the ship is dry docked?
    Sounds a bit like a car that needs dismantling before the oil can be changed. I wonder if someone specified some really exotic features on that mezzanine deck that no commercial ship owner in their right mind would dream up in their worst nightmare – but which the ship builder was only too happy to install, if the price was right?
  • With Heb Isles in for repairs, CalMac charters replacement vessel to reduce underprovision for Islay
    The comments on this particular thread (at least, those that are relevant and not just trying to make everything political) can be read as reflecting wider concerns, and it’s now being reported in the newspapers that the seriously inadequate response of Calmac when the Hebridean Isles had to be withdrawn from service for repairs in the middle of the summer tourist season is going to be reviewed at a meeting in Islay in October, reportedly to be hosted by our MSP, to hold Calmac, Transport Scotland and the Government to account.
    Hopefully they’ll have the sense to leave the bullshit on the mainland.
  • With Heb Isles in for repairs, CalMac charters replacement vessel to reduce underprovision for Islay
    The BBC Scottish News website today has a lengthy item about Calmac’s trials and tribulations with the good ship Isle of Arran.
    However, it’s really only padding out the previously known facts as deemed suitable for release by Calmac, and leaves the details of the boat’s problems unexplained. It’s basically a case of ‘bear with us, there’ll be jam tomorrow’.
    Someone needs to spell out to the Calmac management – and our Holyrood politicians – that if you drive an old banger that wouldn’t pass its MOT and gave the police some feeble excuse about not being able to find spare parts you’d wind up in court.
    The BBC could at least have asked Calmac to explain what sort of problems were making the boat more susceptible to weather cancellations – and as to the Finlaggan running about with a broken mezzanine deck and the Heb Isles crashing into Kennacraig pier, maybe the BBC consider these matters to be unworthy of reporting, let alone investigation.
  • With Heb Isles in for repairs, CalMac charters replacement vessel to reduce underprovision for Islay
    Quoting me out of context, NCH – but it’s nice to know that you read my despicable comments in the Herald, as well as enthusiastically scrutinising this, your favourite despicable blog. Chin up, don’t let your enemies get you down.

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