Driving Better Delivery and Value for Scotland’s Railways: Translating Government Social and Economic Policy into a Public Service Contract to Operate Scotland’s Railways
Jon Tindall, Atkins, Frazer Henderson, Transport Scotland, Gary Bogan, Transport Scotland
The paper will give a view of potential future opportunities and lessons, particularly for medium-sized railways in Europe about to embark on liberalisation
Transport Scotland embarked on the re-letting of the Public Service Contract (PSC) to run the entire country’s passenger rail operations, over the period 2011 to 2014. This was a major exercise and represents the Scottish Government’s largest single procurement. It also represented an opportunity to set a new higher benchmark for passenger rail services within the wider United Kingdom, building on nearly 20 years of rail franchising experience.
A major consultation exercise was launched to determine the views of the public on what they wanted from the railways in Scotland, and these views were consolidated into a series of detailed Policy Statements, covering a wide range of social and economic topics of interest to the Government. This included a decision to let two PSCs (one for general passenger services and one for the overnight sleeper services to London) rather than the existing one.
The policy statements were then assessed against and shaped by the Government’s core purpose and its wider transport objectives before being translated systematically into the formal requirements for the competitions to run the PSCs. The challenge was to ensure that the Scottish Government could procure its enhanced requirement, but in a way which enabled and encouraged potential private sector operators to innovate to offer additional outcomes over and above the minimum requirements. The two very different Franchise procurements were derived from detailed examination of the fundamental concepts, economic models and performance management mechanisms, and included innovative metrics to assess the performance of the franchises.
The paper will give a view of potential future opportunities and lessons, particularly for medium-sized railways in Europe about to embark on liberalisation. It argues that by adopting a systematic approach that significant improvements to the railway and financial cost savings can be delivered. It showcases the achievements that can be attained in public transport policy development and implementation, balancing requirements with innovation and placing delivery risks where they are best handled.
Association for European Transport