Government faces legal action over Great Western tender process

The government recently called off the tender process for the running for the Great Western train line, stating that it wanted to re-evaluate the process following the mess that ensued over the West Costs Mainline procurement. FirstGroup, Stagecoach, Arriva and National Express are looking to take the matter to court in order to sue over the costs they have incurred by the process that has failed so far to appoint an operator. The legal process has begun, however things are to be held until later this month in order to give all sides the opportunity to reach a compromise and resolve the dispute. The bidding process costs each business around £15m as they put together large teams of experts in order to make their bid as successful as possible. If the tender process does not complete it is argued that businesses should receive compensation. But the Department of Transport is likely to argue that these businesses will have the opportunity to bid when the procurement process is opened again. The evidence does not suggest that these rail companies will be able to claim any compensation, even without the reopening of the procurement process. The Department of Transport makes it very clear in their invitation to tender terms that companies are responsible for covering their own costs, “whether or not its bid and/or associated negotiations are ultimately successful or the process is subsequently varied in any way or terminated.” So this would appear to cover them even if they decide not to look for new operators. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with dispute resolution  solicitors in Bournemouth  and across the country.