Civil servants 'bungled West Coast rail deal', MPs told
Civil servants committed an "accumulation of significant errors"
that led to the collapse of the handover of the West Coast rail
franchise, an independent inquiry has found.
The damning conclusion follows the decision by the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, to halt the "flawed" process. Mr McLoughlin blamed officials for the bungles and three civil servants have been suspended.
In August, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that FirstGroup, rather than Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Trains, had won the battle to operate the lucrative franchise for the next 13 years.
Sir Richard, whose company had run West Coast since 1997, described the bidding process as "insane" and launched a legal challenge against the decision.
Sam Laidlaw, the senior business figure leading the first of two inquiries into the fiasco, yesterday published his preliminary findings. He said: "In seeking to run a complex and novel franchising competition process, an accumulation of significant errors, described in the report, resulted in a flawed process. These errors appear to have been caused by factors including inadequate planning and preparation, a complex organisational structure and a weak governance and quality assurance framework."
Errors included a lack of transparency in the bidding process, inconsistencies in the treatment of bidders and mistakes in calculating the amount of risk bidders were asked to provide against defaulting on the franchise.
Richard Branson's Virgin Trains had run the West Coast Main Line since 1997
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...