ATCO welcomes updated DfT tendering guidance

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Minister Baroness Kramer claims the recommendations set out in the revised guidance will save money

The Association of Transport Coordinating Officers (ATCO), which represents local authority transport professionals has welcomed the revised road passenger transport tendering guidance from the DfT.

It updates earlier guidance published in 2005 to assist local authorities in England (outside Greater London) in procuring supported bus services as part of their wider Local Transport Plans. The DfT said the revision has been expanded to include all forms of passenger transport and applies for the first time also to Scotland and Wales.

This revision has been produced in response to a recommendation by the Competition Commission in its report on the supply of local bus services in the UK (excluding Northern Ireland and London) published in December 2011. This is available here.

The new guidance has been prepared by Atkins Ltd and the TAS Partnership in close consultation with a panel of experts across the passenger transport and procurement sectors.

Baroness Kramer said: “The recommendations in this revised guidance will save money. That is the clear message throughout.

“Adopting the right structures and practices by those within local authorities that fund and secure tendered services can have a huge impact on value for money. Whether it is streamlining administrative procedures, improving relations with local operators or changing the way tender documents are prepared to encourage more bidders, all help maximise the return on the £435m UK local authorities spend each year on passenger services (excludes London but includes Scotland and Wales).

“I strongly urge every local authority to take on board the recommendations in this Guidance, as it will result in real improvements to the delivery of supported transport services, which provide a vital lifeline.”

Reacting to the announcement, ATCO’s Tracy Jessop told CBW: “With continuing pressure on all aspects of funding, local authorities have an on-going and pressing need to ensure the best possible value for money from their tendered network. With reduced staff resource it’s even more important to be able to learn from best practice and the new guidance, produced with local authority input, reflects the changed landscape of commissioning and procurement. Much has changed since 2005 when the last guidance was issued and I’m sure it will be a useful tool for councils across the UK.”

Bruce Thompson, ATCO Bus Executive Chairman, added: “This work has been a great example of working with those who have specialist knowledge around Road Passenger Transport. ATCO has valued this work process from start to finish and the outcome demonstrates the possibilities of collaborative working. We’d like to also extend our compliments to the TAS Partnership who’s communication to all of the stakeholders coupled with their hard work is evident in the guidance.”