Initial ITT for CHFS tender published
The Initial Invitation To Tender (ITT) document for the next contract to run the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS) has been published.
A copy was issued to both bidders, CalMac Ferries Ltd and Serco Caledonian Ferries Limited, on July 31st and the document has now been published on the Transport Scotland website.
The invitation for both operators to submit a final tender is scheduled for December 2015, with a view to awarding the contract in May 2016.
Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay said:
“We have promised to make this procurement process fair, open and transparent, so we are publishing the Initial ITT document to make good on that pledge.
“This is just the first step in the ITT process. As I announced in Parliament, 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 tenderers. We have already engaged with key stakeholders who have a direct interest in the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services, but this new initiative will provide additional assurances around the procurement process.
“It is also important to reiterate that no matter the outcome of the procurement process, 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.
“As Minister for Transport and Islands, I’m well aware of the vital role these ferry services play in enabling continued and sustainable economic growth for the Islands. We are focused on ensuring a fair and open competition that leads to getting the very best deal for all of the communities of the Clyde and Hebrides.”
The Initial ITT document is available to view at the Transport Scotland website: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/ferries/clyde-and-hebrides
Representatives of the following key stakeholder groups will be invited to make up the Procurement Reference Panel: Local Authorities; Ferry User Groups; Tourism, Economy and Business; Ports and Harbours; Trade Unions; Health, Social Care and Accessibility
Appointments to the Procurement Reference Panel are in the process of being agreed and will be confirmed in due course.
The remit of Procurement Reference Panel is 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 tenderers. Given procurement rules, the Procurement Reference Panel cannot be involved in evaluating the bids or overseeing the appointment of the successful tenderer. These roles sit solely with Scottish Ministers.
The contract to operate the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network must be tendered in compliance with European law.
The requirement to tender stems from Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92, applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (Maritime Cabotage), and the relevant provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The position of the Commission in relation to tendering can be seen clearly from Commission Decision C 16/2008 made on 28 October 2009 in relation to state aid in relation to subsidies for maritime transport services in Scotland.