DfT urged to reconsider 'ramshackle' decision to award Siemens contract
A DERBY MP has accused Transport Minister Simon Burns of contradiction over whether the Government used the right regulations when buying trains for the Thameslink route.
Derby North MP Chris Williamson wrote to Mr Burns to raise concerns over whether the Department for Transport used the correct regulations to evaluate bids for the £1.4 billion Thameslink rolling stock contract.
This was awarded to German firm Siemens ahead of Derby's Bombardier. Last year, supporters of the city firm accused ministers of using the wrong set of rules.
The Government used the Utilities Contracts Regulations because it was ordering the 1,200 carriages on behalf of train firms.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
But it has been argued that ministers should have used the Public Contracts Regulations as they have treated it as a "Government contract".
Campaigners, including Mr Williamson, believe that, if the Government had used the public rules, Siemens could have been excluded from bidding as it had previously been fined for corruption.
Mr Williamson has raised the issue again with the DfT in a letter to Mr Burns.
But he said the response he has received shows that the Transport Minister has been "badly briefed".
Mr Burns wrote: "We believe we have acted in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations, that we have not treated ourselves as a train operating company for the purposes of the Thameslink rolling stock procurement and that this is not a Government contract."
In his response, Mr Williamson wrote: "You claim the DfT has not treated itself as a train operating company.
"Yet in its written evidence to the Transport Select Committee in September 2011, wasn't that precisely how the DfT described what it was doing?
"You state that Thameslink is not a Government contract. But in the preceding sentence you argued that your department has not treated itself as a train operating company. In which case, logic suggests it must surely be a Government contract."
The contract is still unsigned – although Siemens and the DfT claim they are on course to reach financial close early next year.
Mr Williamson said: "The ramshackle manner in which the Thameslink tender has been managed has resulted in a flawed process.
"The decision to select Siemens ahead of Bombardier is not only procedurally flawed, it could also leave the Government with egg on its face if Siemens fail to deliver.
"I therefore urge Mr Burns once again to either elevate Bombardier to preferred bidder status or retender."
A DfT spokesman said: "The Department does not consider that it is a train-operating company. As it stated in its evidence to the Select Committee, it is conducting the procurement to facilitate the future Thameslink Train Operating Company to enter into the Thameslink agreements.
"This is why the process in the Utilities Contract Regulations 2006 has been followed."