Scottish Government Ownership from early 2022
ScotRail services will move into Scottish Government ownership when the ScotRail franchise ends, currently expected to be in March 2022. The services will be provided within the public sector, by an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government.
This is a result of the Scottish Government’s decision to run ScotRail services through what is known as the ‘Operator of Last Resort’. ScotRail staff will transfer to the new Scottish Government owned entity, with their terms and conditions protected.
Emergency Measures Agreement
In April 2020 the Scottish Government put in place an Emergency Measures Agreement (EMA) which made a temporary variation to the ScotRail franchise agreement. This minimised disruption to passengers and rail employees during the COVID-19 outbreak and allowed rail passenger services to continue to operate during this period. The EMA expired in September 2020. A further EMA was put in place at that point and it will expire on 31 March 2021.
Recognising the continued significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures on rail passenger services, work is now underway to put in place a further EMA for the period 1 April until September 2021.
The ScotRail franchise operates around 2,400 train services each day and delivers over 93 million passenger journeys per year. It is the single biggest contract let by Scottish Ministers, worth a total value of over £7 billion over 10 years.
In October 2014, the franchise was awarded to Abellio. Operations commenced on April 1 2015. The renewal programme documents all of the background information on the procurement process.
The ScotRail franchise covers all services in Scotland apart from services by other operators that cross the Anglo-Scottish border (Virgin, East Coast, TransPennine, Cross Country and the Caledonian Sleeper). ScotRail does operate services to Carlisle.
Rail franchising in Great Britain was created by the Railways Act 1993. Franchising allows a private operator to provide rail services on the Scottish rail network on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Franchise commitments include:
- the living wage as a minimum for all staff and subcontractors
- at least 100 apprenticeships
- guarantee of no compulsory redundancies throughout the life of the franchise contract
- rail staff pensions and travel rights to be protected
- introduction of guaranteed trade union representation on every franchise board meeting
Prior Information Notice – Abellio ScotRail Franchise
As the scale and pace of the recovery from the impact of the pandemic remains uncertain, a Prior Information Notice (PIN) has been published on PCS. This is a technical measure that stems from relevant procurement requirements.
This PIN is available at the link below and has been published as Ministers may, depending on circumstances and as set out in the PIN, wish to be able to make a direct award under Regulation 1370 / 2007, and not under the public procurement regime. By way of explanation, the references in the PIN to Directive 2014/24/EU, result from the requirements of the PCS portal rather than from procurement requirements in respect of a Temporary Measures Agreement, if awarded.
Prior Information Notice (PIN) – ScotRail Franchise Replacement
In line with the Parliamentary Statement made by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, on 17 March 2021, and relevant procurement regulations, Scottish Ministers have published a PIN which confirms their intention for the Operator of Last Resort (OLR) to operate ScotRail services from 1 April 2022, following the expiry of the current ScotRail Franchise Agreement, currently expected to be 31 March 2022.
A core OLR period of three to five years is envisaged in the PIN, although Ministers’ ability to award a contract for up to ten years (the maximum award duration available) is preserved.
Please note that the PIN published on PCS (and available at the link below) envisages a direct award under Regulation 1370 / 2007, and not under the public procurement regime. By way of explanation, the references in the PIN to Directive 2014/24/EU, result from the requirements of the PCS portal rather than from procurement requirements in respect of the envisaged award.
Documents relating to the ScotRail franchise agreement can be found in the Public Register. Regular meetings are held with Abellio ScotRail to discuss franchise performance. We publish all the minutes of these meetings.
Previous franchise arrangements
The previous rail franchise was held by First ScotRail. This ended on 31 March 2015 and all documents relating to this franchise can be found in the Public Register. In addition, you can also read all the meeting minutes from regular meetings with First ScotRail.
The results for the Service Quality Incentive Regime (SQUIRE) for the First ScotRail franchise are also available. More detailed information can also be found on the Network Rail website.