The Transport Select Committee published the government’s update on its response to the Laidlaw Report on Friday 14 February.

This document provides the DfT’s update on how it is responding to the recommendations of the Laidlaw Report into the withdrawal of the West Coast Rail Franchise tendering in December 2012.

Updates from the DfT include:

  • DfT is increasing its resources to deal with future franchise procurements including clearer lines of responsibility – single director general with responsibility for rail, single director for rail franchising programme, single project director for each competition.
  • New procurement and competition guides have been introduced and the government will use internal assurance teams including procurement professionals not involved in the franchise team.
  • External technical, legal and financial advisors will be used on all competitions.
  • Bidders should be able to calculate in advance the risk capital they will have to provide.
  • DfT will not use an internal anonymous approach between bidders in future.
  • The tone of dialogue between the department and the railway industry will be made more open.
  • Following a wider review, DfT has concluded that the procurement issues identified by Laidlaw were limited to the rail franchise process – nonetheless they are introducing a new approach to modelling activities.