Many thanks for this update. Good to see signs …

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

Many thanks for this update.
Good to see signs of independence.

newsroom also commented

  • This would make more sense – over energetic research on our part?

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    You have repeatedly refused to clarify which part of what we said is incorrect.
    The situation therefore remain unclear until you do so.
    We have removed the sentence from the article as you asked.
    All you have to do is simply to say that you wrote no part of the final report issued by the LRRG.
    As we have consistently said,if you do so we will accept that without hesitation.
    And where you point directly, as we have asked you to do, to a specific inaccuracy, such as this, we will be happy to apologise for it.
    At the moment we can have no idea exactly what you would wish us to apologise for.
  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    We have never said that you ‘authored the main text’.
    If you state without equivocation that you did not write any of the final report issued by the LRRG, we will unhesitatingly accept that – as we have already said.
  • Perfect fit in new partnership marketing initiative for Cowal’s Creggans Inn
    Had a grin at your imagineering of ‘a sobering run to Dunoon by HM finest’.
    This sort of occasion is obviously about staying overnight and we had expected that this was central to the marketing strategy – but we will inquire.
  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    [Updated below] A sentence in the opening section of this article has been removed
    Mr Wightman has simply said to us:
    ‘This statement is untrue. Please remove it.’
    So of course we have removed it.
    However, the sentence is actually a multiple statement so, for the record because one issue is important – we have asked Mr Wightman to clarify which of its internal statements is incorrect – or if all of them are:
    ‘Did you write any section or sections or parts of any section or sections of the final LRRG report?
    ‘Is it incorrect to suggest that you were ‘allowed’ to write an element or elements of the report, where, for instance, you may have seen this as a right?
    ‘Is is incorrect to suggest that your authorship of elements of the report was ‘unacknowledged’ where we may have failed to notice such an acknowledgement?
    ‘Is it incorrect that the writing of the report was ‘the formal responsibility of others?’
    For Argyll is aware that sections of the final report of the Land Reform Review Group were indeed written by Advisers to the Review Group rather than, as one is entitled to expect – by the topline membership [albeit a regularly shifting one] of the Review Group itself.
    Our analysis of the language style and content analysis of major elements of the report as being both distinctively different from other sections of the report and arguably authored by Mr Wightman, who was an Adviser to the Review Group.
    The passage on ‘ Statutory limitation on land ownership’ seemed a particularly attributable; and the passage ‘Inheritance rights changed to break up established landholdings’ scored a possible similar authorship.
    These analysis may well have come to the wrong conclusions – and if Mr Wightman assures us that he was not the author of any of the main text of the final LRRG report, we will be glad to accept that without equivocation.
    In our article of May 2014 on that report [], we said:
    ‘The lack of philosophical, conceptual and tonal strategic unity weakens the report. It demonstrates the impact of specific influences pulling aspects of it in different directions – sometimes asymmetrically. There is no evidence of any kind of the necessary final editorship. Responsibility for this must lie with the Group’s chair since its inception, Dr Alison Elliot, former moderator of the Church of Scotland.’
    24.00 update:
    Mr Wightman has refused to clarify his position on any of the questions which, as above, we o]put to him, saying: ‘I have no intention of responding to the range of bizarre and unsubstantiated allegations that you make below.’
  • Gigha community ownership on brink of failure
    There is no dishonour in an honourable attempt which fails.
    The Gigha buy out has always been an honourable attempt, whether it succeeds or fails.
    There is also no shame in failure – so much in life is down to the luck of the draw.
    One community buy out may succeed where another may fail.
    Problems arise, though, where the possibility of failure is not factored in to the thinking and where failure is disguised.
    Amongst other aspects of this, where failure is acknowledged lessons may be learned from it that may protect other initiatives from failing.

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19 Responses to Many thanks for this update. Good to see signs …

  1. 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.

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  2. The MacBrayne group would certainly face some difficulty in challenging any contract award, and have been in such a position before on the Ballycastle-Rathlin route. One has to wonder why the Scottish government took such an “interest” in the way that particular contract was awarded.
    ” Judith Ainsley, Guy Platten of CMAL and Mike Berry (Scottish Government Ferries Division) are hoping to meet with representatives of DRD (Department for Regional Development) Northern Ireland to discuss the tendering of the Rathlin-Ballycastle ferry service, this will be followed by a visit to the ferry operator”

    Perhaps Streamline have done MacBrayne a favour in opening the process up to legal scrutiny.

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    • 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.

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  3. I think you will find streamline credit card machines has nothing to do with streamline shipping!

    Come on, poor research

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    13 May 2012

    “NorthLink Ferries Ltd today confirms that it is in continuing discussions with the Scottish Government to clarify certain aspects of the procurement process which eight days ago saw Scottish Ministers announce that the six-year contract to operate lifeline ferry services for Orkney and Shetland was to be awarded to Serco Ltd. NorthLink’s current contract to operate the services is due to expire on July 5″

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      • Independence? Hardly independence, as NorthLink is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Macbrayne Group (i.e. the Scottish Government) and who are they currently running the service for? Oh yes, the Scottish Government! Perhaps not so much independence as nepotism?

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  5. “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.”

    Do you think? Having read their responses to an “independent” investigation into the awarding of the Rathlin contract, it’s very clear that Calmac/Rathlin Ferries Ltd were unhappy at the way in which that tendering process had been operated. Yet, no legal challenge?

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    • 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.

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  6. I stay on Orkney and we are just sick of the mess the Government is making of our lifeline ferry service. The contract with Serco, if it lasts, is undesirable -they can only make money by cutting services and the crew’s pay and numbers and their reputation as a cutter of pay and numbers is clear from their control of NHS contracts in England. As well as the developing contract fiasco, this year we had the mess the Government made of the dry dock timetable where they went behind Orkney’s back to get Shetland council to pay extra for an extended charter of the Hebridean Isles (I think); we’ve the attempt to cut service standards by slowing down the boats and reducing services; there is the continuing saga of the alternating denial and promise of RET which, if it comes has receded to the next Parliament.

    This is heading for a grand all purpose mess.

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    • 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.

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      • I agree that we do well with the service we get – the service from the Hope to Gills Bay is completely private with no subsidy nor does it count as a life line service. Our bind is not so much about the service as the secretive and underhanded behaviour of the Government – for example we don’t know about what the new contract says about ferry frequencies or times; there looks to be a cut back in the freight boats for both sets of islands; the possibility of RET for Orkney ferries- including the internal services has receded to beyond 2015.

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      • Of course they enjoy good services, just like Dunoon has a reliable service. Unless you are local to the route and use it regularly you really don’t know all the ins and outs.

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  7. Transport Scotland do not seem particularly competent at writing contracts – read yours carefully.

    In theory CalMac can take legal action, it practice I imagine it not possible because CalMac is run by the Scottish Government so people are hardly likely to try to take Court action against a decision made by their own bosses.

    There was no logic to the Dunoon Gourock route decision. A linkspan had been built a promise of vehicle ferries had been made, then all of a sudden there was a U-turn. Now with the CalMac losing Northlink it is starting to look as if there is an agenda to break up CalMac.

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  8. i think the snp agenda is get rid of calmac ,alex salmond stated yesterday the basf factory in stornoways would create 9 jobs (equal to thousands in the glasgow/edinburgh). when they give northlink and calmac away ,i fear hundreds of jobs will be lost (mostly in rural areas ).
    how will he explain that !!!!

    this isnt scaremongering it will happen .

    snp …only interested in big business ….get these clowns out

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    • It does look like they want to break up CalMac, but why is not clear. Private companies will snap up the profitable routes. The Government will be left subsidising the unprofitable routes. Everybody will lose because there will be no ability to move relief boats around during maintenance periods.

      This is exactly the position in Dunoon. The vehicle part of the old CalMac service was making a profit every year from 2002 until it ended in 2011. Now the Government has to subsidise a dismal passenger service that cannot cope with the weather and has to run a half service for four weeks each year because there are no relief boats. Meanwhile Western gain 60,000 vehicle crossings per year with no control on prices and profit.

      This seems set to spread throughout the ferry routes in Scotland – not good news.

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