Ferry services procurement policy review

The Minister for Transport and the Islands made a statement to Parliament on Thursday 2 February 2017.

He announced a Policy Review of Ferry Procurement to consider the implications of the European Commission’s response on the Teckal exemption and State aid rules to protect and ensure future provision of our ferry services. The review will engage key stakeholders, such as the unions and communities, on the future approach to the provision of ferry services.

Terms of reference


The Policy Review will examine the future approach to the procurement of the Scottish Government’s lifeline ferry services, in accordance with European and domestic legislation.

The Policy Review’s primary purpose is to ensure the continued provision of safe, efficient and effective ferry services that meet the needs of island and remote rural communities and which provide value for money to the taxpayer.


The Policy Review will identify and consider in detail the legal, policy and financial implications relevant to the procurement of ferry services, including:

  • the possible application of the Teckal exemption
  • the requirement to ensure compliance with State aid rules, and
  • all other legal, policy and financial implications relevant to the procurement of ferry services in future.

The review will examine alternative models to the current organisational structures and governance of David MacBrayne Ltd and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd. within the context of meeting the conditions of Teckal and State aid rules.

The review will produce a report on the sustainable provision of ferry services in future. It will be made available to Parliament and be published on Transport Scotland’s website.

Structure and Process

The Minister for Transport and the Islands will oversee the review which will be conducted by officials with the relevant expertise from across Transport Scotland and Scottish Government, including:

  • Transport Scotland Ferries Unit
  • Transport Scotland Analytical Services
  • Transport Scotland Finance
  • Scottish Government Finance
  • Scottish Government Legal Directorate
  • Scottish Government European Union Office
  • Scottish Government State aid Unit
  • Scottish Government Procurement and Commercial Directorate

The review will have three workstreams:

  • Legal – including such elements as consideration of the Teckal exemption, the Maritime Cabotage Regulation and State aid rules
  • Policy – including such elements as operational implications, consideration of future operating models, key stakeholder engagement and implications of Brexit
  • Financial – including such elements as consideration of costs, benefits and value for money associated with procurement of ferry services in future

Stakeholder Engagement

The review will engage closely with stakeholders through a series of key stakeholder reference groups and bi-lateral meetings, including:

  • Regional Transport Partnership Ferry User Groups involving local authority, community, business and tourism stakeholders
  • Constituency MSP and Transport Spokespersons
  • Trade Unions
  • European Commission
  • Existing Public Service Contract Operating Companies

Details of upcoming stakeholder events

Provisional Timeline

  • The requirement to consider complex and detailed legal, policy and financial information means that the outcome of the review cannot be prejudged. Emerging findings could influence both the direction and timeline of the review.
  • A provisional timeline is presented for information purposes only at this early stage in the review process and may be subject to amendment as the review progresses.
Key Milestones Provisional Timeline
Key Stakeholder engagement February–June 2017
Consideration of legal, policy and financial implications February–August 2017
Publication of Report Autumn 2017

Interim report - Emerging findings - 20 December 2017

Contact us

If you would like further information about the Policy Review, please write to:

Carol Nowbaveh
Area 2E North
Victoria Quay
Commercial Street

Email: carol.nowbaveh@transport.gov.scot
Tel: 0131 244 1539