Procurement and state aid issues in transport funding

Dr H. Rhinehart made this Freedom of Information request to Swindon Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request is waiting for clarification. If you are Dr H. Rhinehart, please sign in to send a follow up message.

Dear Sirs

SWINDON BOROUGH COUNCIL PROCUREMENT AND STATE AID PROCESSES

I am writing to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I have reason to believe that some United Kingdom public bodies may have violated the European Competition rules by not selecting the suppliers of their services through open competition. The effect of this is would be to subsidise existing operators, prevent new operators entering the market and create a situation where passengers are paying higher fares than would exist in a market that had not been artificially subsidised.

I have been provided with information to suggest that the De Minimis Regulations 1998/2006 have, in some instances, been used by United Kingdom public bodies to provide grants to transport companies without working through an open competition process. It would appear that amounts above the €200,000 legally receivable per undertaking in a 3 year period (under Regulation 1998/2006) have been paid out by public bodies.

In this context:

1. For each of the following years, please provide the total amount paid by Swindon Borough Council to companies which operate within the transport sector:

1.1 - 1 April 2005 - 31 March 2006
1.2 - 1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007
1.3 - 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008
1.4 - 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009
1.5 - 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010
1.6 - 1 April 2010 - 15 October 2010.

For all the questions asked in this request:

- unless otherwise stated, the amount should include grants, loans and any other monies paid for services.

- the information requested in these questions should be shown on a company by company basis.

- where any company is part of the same business group these should be listed together as a single undertaking.

- Information relating to Dial a Ride is not required (with the exception of question 7).

2. For each of the following years, please provide the total amount paid by Swindon Borough Council to companies which operate within the transport sector as selected by an open tender process:

2.1 - 1 April 2005 - 31 March 2006
2.2 - 1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007
2.3 - 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008
2.4 - 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009
2.5 - 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010
2.6 - 1 April 2010 - 15 October 2010.

For the avoidance of doubt, negotiated procedure and three quotes should not be included in the above information.

3. For each of the following years, please provide the total amount paid by Swindon Borough Council to companies which operate within the transport sector as selected by negotiated procedure, three quotes or other procurement process that is not open to all undertakings to bid in(including those based in other countries):

3.1 - 1 April 2005 - 31 March 2006
3.2 - 1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007
3.3 - 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008
3.4 - 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009
3.5 - 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010
3.6 - 1 April 2010 - 15 October 2010.

4. For each of the following years, please provide the total amount paid by Swindon Borough Council to companies under the De Minimis exemption 1998/2006:

4.1 - 1 April 2005 - 31 March 2006
4.2 - 1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007
4.3 - 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008
4.4 - 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009
4.5 - 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010
4.6 - 1 April 2010 - 15 October 2010.

5. For each of the following years, please provide the total amount paid by Swindon Borough Council to companies provided under a State Aid exemption (not including the De Minimis exemption 1998/2006):

5.1 - 1 April 2005 - 31 March 2006
5.2 - 1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007
5.3 - 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008
5.4 - 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009
5.5 - 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010
5.6 - 1 April 2010 - 15 October 2010.

Please list the name of the exemption.

6. How much did Swindon Borough Council pay in external legal advice in relation to Procurement and State Aid in each of the following years (where the legal advice applied to a wider project state the full amount of the legal spend but market the amount with a star):

6.1 - 1 April 2005 - 31 March 2006
6.2 - 1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007
6.3 - 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008
6.4 - 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009
6.5 - 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010
6.6 - 1 April 2010 - 15 October 2010.

7. What was the total amount of money provided to Dial a Ride in each of the following years:

7.1 - 1 April 2005 - 31 March 2006
7.2 - 1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007
7.3 - 1 April 2007 - 31 March 2008
7.4 - 1 April 2008 - 31 March 2009
7.5 - 1 April 2009 - 31 March 2010

8. Where Swindon Borough Council has funded a project, please provide any emails or other record of advice (such as file notes) provided to a serving councillor of Swindon Borough Council between 1 April 2005 and 15 October 2010 from a member of the legal department, which states that providing funding would be outside of the State Aid rules.

9. What steps have been put in place to prevent a repeat of the Dial a Ride situation?

Thank you in advance for your work on this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Dr H. Rhinehart

Customer Services, Swindon Borough Council

Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the FoI office for response.

Kind regards

Customer Services
Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Swindon SN1 2JG
Phone: 01793 445500

E-mail: [Swindon Borough Council request email]
Website: www.swindon.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Sharon Druett, Swindon Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Dr H Rhinehart

Ref: FOI101000244632 Freedom of Information Request

Thank you for your attached request received in our office on 18 October
2010.
The Council has a duty to respond 'promptly' or no later than 20 working
days which in this case is 15 November 2010.

I attach for your attention, the following information

If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received in relation to
your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review, you should
contact:

Customer Services
Civic Offices
Euclid Street
Swindon
Website: [1]www.[Swindon Borough Council request email]

The complaints/review procedure involves a full review and an examination
of all the information by the Council's Monitoring Officer.

If you are not content with the outcome of our conclusion, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision, before
contacting the Council. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless
you have exhausted the Council's own complaints procedure.

The Information Officer can be contacted at:

The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Email: [2][email address]
Tel: 01625 545700 (ask for Freedom of Information)

If you require any further information concerning this matter, please
contact me as detailed, quoting the above reference number in any future
communications.

Yours sincerely

Sharon Druett

Sharon Druett ([email address])
Freedom of Information Officer
Law and Democratic Services
Swindon Borough Council
Tel: 01793 463377
Fax: 01793 463405
Web: [3]www.swindon.gov.uk

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

show quoted sections