Author Topic: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others  (Read 7724 times)

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Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #104 on: October 06, 2017, 11:45:27 AM »
I know...  I just keep on hoping, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the severely limited intellectual capacity of our elected representatives shouldn't be strained to deal with matters of importance. Pot holes and bin collections - yes, but anything else - such as statements regarding child protection in swimming pools or remotely technical issues such as wind and sand - best leave that to those who can do their 7x tables...
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #105 on: November 12, 2017, 06:13:26 PM »
The Daily Post has picked up on the fact that You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. In a masterful observation Cllr Philip Evans (Conwy council’s representative on the Conwy Valley Railway Liaison Group, Transport Advisory Forum and West Coast Rail 250) gave what must qualify as the understatement of the year with regard to our councillors:

"A lack of foresight when the current franchise was let meant that increased demand was not taken into account."

Seems that particular skill permeates most council decisions.
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

DaveR

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #106 on: November 13, 2017, 12:06:11 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
The Daily Post has picked up on the fact that You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login. In a masterful observation Cllr Philip Evans (Conwy council’s representative on the Conwy Valley Railway Liaison Group, Transport Advisory Forum and West Coast Rail 250) gave what must qualify as the understatement of the year with regard to our councillors:

"A lack of foresight when the current franchise was let meant that increased demand was not taken into account."

Seems that particular skill permeates most council decisions.
To be fair, the franchise decision was not taken locally, or even in Wales, IIRC. Usage of the railway network is now at all all-time high and consideration need to be given to establishing a regular service to Llandudno on Sundays all year round.

Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #107 on: November 13, 2017, 01:27:12 PM »
But presumably the Conwy Valley Railway Liaison Group, Transport Advisory Forum and West Coast Rail 250 must have made strong representations at the time, which would be a matter of record?
“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.

DaveR

  • Administrator
Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #108 on: November 14, 2017, 08:55:23 AM »
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But presumably the Conwy Valley Railway Liaison Group, Transport Advisory Forum and West Coast Rail 250 must have made strong representations at the time, which would be a matter of record?
Quite possibly, but i doubt the Strategic Rail Authority (who were responsible for awarding the franchise back in 2001) were remotely bothered about what they thought (sadly). I doubt this London based quango even knew where Llandudno was, much less had any interest in it.

Ian

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Re: Incompetence: CCBC, NAfW, UK Government, Local council and others
« Reply #109 on: November 14, 2017, 02:08:20 PM »
There are few things as convoluted as Parliamentary records, but having a spare 90 minutes I've managed to find the records for the franchise, the committee involved, the membership of that committee and the reasons why the franchise was awarded. You can almost certainly place most of the problems firmly at the door of the egregious Thatcher, but I digress.

The process started in March 2000 under the  auspices of the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs. then in its third term.  Interestingly, those who manned the committee were exclusively representing Welsh constituencies, so "this London based quango" was certainly responsible to the Welsh voter through the simple fact that they were Welsh MPs. And, as a select committee, it wasn't actually a quango.

It took until October 2003 to award the franchise and the criteria applied to prospective bidders was fairly stringent:

    "provide, at a reasonably early stage, clear information on the scope of the specification that will be acceptable. This scope will be determined primarily by the availability of funding, taking into account the Authority's overall priorities for its budget; and

    "Where a new or replacement franchise is likely to require improvements to the existing railway infrastructure, the Authority should specify how those improvements are to be reflected in the franchise proposals"

within these parameters determined by the Strategic Rail Authority:

affordability and value for money;

the commitment of existing franchise operators to safety, performance, customer services, personal security, innovation, investment and efficiency;

the extent to which investment can be obtained;

the extent to which better performance can be secured;

the wider social and economic benefits, including from road decongestion, and environmental impact of proposals;

compatibility and consistency with local transport plans and regional transport strategies;

the extent to which integrated transport measures both within the rail network and between rail and other transport modes can be achieved, including integrated public transport information systems; this should seek to include better and safer interchange at and access to stations by local public transport, by car, cycle and on foot and by passengers with disabilities;

the extent to which proposals will seek to improve the complete door-to-door journey experience;

the extent to which passengers will be given a greater voice in the level and standard of services;

the extent to which station facilities such as signage, information, waiting rooms, ticket offices and secure parking can be improved, and accreditation obtained under the Secure Stations initiative;

impact, if any, on existing or potential freight services".

There are 162 paragraphs in the original report, much written in officialese and somewhat impenetrable, plus the use of an overly complicated scoring system to analyse the various bids mitigated against a transparent process.  However, the process was further complicated by the need to use English hubs to facilitate the proposed timetables and - in the long run - it came down to two factors:

1. The Tory decimation of the railways in 1963 - 69 leaving absurdly little spare capacity
2. Lack of funds being made available to subsidise what should have been a commercial service.  Yes - Thatcher was all about selling off state owned assets (which was - in fact-  criminal) and under the Conservative Thatcher government and that of her immediate successor, Major, various state-owned businesses were sold off, including various functions related to the railways – Sealink ferries and British Transport Hotels by 1984, Travellers Fare catering by 1988 and British Rail Engineering (train building) by 1989 and finally the railways themselves in 1993.  However, the governments have always had to subsidise the successful bidder, in effect paying them to run the service for which they 'won' the bidding, which does go to show just how wonderful capitalism is.

However, it's clear that failing to run Sunday services is a clear infraction of at least three fo the criteria specified above, so the question becomes why this has not been addressed.

One big problem is that local councillors fail to think big. They all tend to shrug their collective shoulders and say that nothing can be done quickly, but that's simply not true.  The Government - any Government - responds to potential bad press and perceived voter irritation, so doing things by the book rarely works.  To get results, much more direct action is needed by councillors, AMs and other interested parties. Otherwise, we get the services we deserve.


“Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.”   ― Michel de Montaigne

Si hoc legere scis, nimis eruditionis habes.