Scottish Ferry Services: Ferries Plan (2013-2022)

Appendix 6: Procurement Statement


Effective public procurement has a key role to play in developing sustainable economic growth. Procurement of ferry services can be used to promote jobs and growth for Scotland's remote and island communities and be inclusive of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and third sector organisations. This statement sets out how we will do that.

We will ensure that our ferry services procurements are carried out in an effective, transparent and proportionate manner. To this end we will consider the most appropriate procurement route[16] and on each occasion decide on that which is best suited to the scale and complexity of the particular exercise. Regardless of the procurement route, we will ensure that effective stakeholder engagement takes place so that - while respecting the statutory limits and the need to protect commercial confidentiality - those communities who have an interest in the ferry services are kept informed of the process throughout.

In future procurements for our subsidised ferry services, our approach will emphasise the need to deliver sustainability and value for money. In addition, public service contractors will be encouraged to pursue innovation and growth as they carry out these services, benefitting the people and the economies of the communities they serve. Although Scottish Ministers are already fully responsible for our ferry services, an independent Scotland will ensure that the unique nature of our ferry services is fully considered in reaching decisions about how we tender.

Having examined the evidence, Scottish Ministers have decided that there is no compelling case to unbundle the Clyde & Hebrides (CHFS) routes in the tender exercise due to begin in 2014. However, in preparing for this procurement exercise we will investigate ways that bidders can be encouraged to include small operators in their tender, for example as sub-contractors or in partnership with a larger operator.

Looking ahead to future ferry service procurements, on a case-by-case basis our chosen approach with regard to unbundling will be dependant on consideration of both the best interests of ferry users, value for money and our desire to create opportunities for businesses - including SMEs and the third sector - to access these opportunities.