The Quality Contract Scheme (QCS) board is to hold oral evidence sessions into the proposed North East Quality Contract scheme in March and April 2015. It follows a directions hearing on November 26 when a timetable was agreed.
Chairman of the board, Kevin Rooney has indicated that the complexity of the Tyne and Wear scheme, the changes to the proposals since the initial consultation and the fact that this is the first scheme of its kind were exceptional circumstances. The need for fairness in the process requires the board to exercise its powers to extend the timeframe to ensure proper scrutiny.
The board has instructed Nexus and three bus operators – Arriva North East, Go North East and Stagecoach – to define and refine the issues, including analysis of the underlying economic modelling, by February 2015.
The directions hearing, held in Leeds, discussed working practices for the QCS board to ensure a fair, efficient and effective process is in place. The board has also confirmed that it intends to publish a final report by May 31, 2015. The oral evidence sessions will take place on March 10-12, March 17-19 and April 14-16. The venue will be confirmed in due course.
The three operators are required to provide their written statements of evidence, supporting documents and matters of issue by January 30. Nexus is required to consider all points raised by the operators and provide their written evidence and matters of issue by February 20. The QCS board expects to receive skeleton arguments by March 3.