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August 14 2017
By Tim Deakin

Tim is the Senior Journalist at routeONE magazine is also the title’s chief test driver, with considerable vehicle knowledge

Wirral operators call for SEN contract review

The group of five Wirral operators are demanding a review of contracts

Five operators of minibus contracts informed Wirral Borough Council (WBC) in July that they intend to cease tendering until a “total review” is carried out.

The group seeks numerous changes. Among them are a minimum five-year term; abolition of the current 30-day notice of cancellation; a review of the penalty points system; flexibility to allow for unforeseen supplier price increases; and consultation before an attempt is made to alter or remove any contract aspect.

Earlier this year, WBC announced that it would award no further contracts for operation under Section 19 and Section 22 permits, but more recent news of the DfT’s change of direction (see p5) makes that point moot.

WBC claims that a collective refusal to tender unless it agrees to discuss contract conditions amounts to a breach of Section 2 of the Competition Act 1998, making operators doing so part of an unlawful cartel.

“WBC would be duty-bound to report that outcome to the Competition and Markets Authority,” it says, adding it hopes that such a complaint will be unnecessary.

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