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Invitation to Tender For Campbeltown- Ballycastle Ferry Service - Draft Service Specification




This Annex summarises the proposed service and performance standards.

Definitions and Monitoring

The Executive seeks a system which would be transparent and relatively simple to apply using the record and log systems which would generally be expected on a passenger ferry. The Executive does not wish to impose an unnecessary or impractical administrative burden, but seeks a system which adequately protects the public interest and resources. It is proposed to base the performance and measuring system around times which the Contractor would almost certainly record as a matter of course:

  • at sailing, time of letting go the last rope;
  • at arrival, time at which the vessel is secured alongside the berth.

The information on which this is based would have to be provided by the Contractor. The Executive would require the Contractor to have procedures and provide assurances about the system to be used, and which would be given force in contract Terms and Conditions. This would include the right to audit the records and material on which the reports are based. The Executive would require that copies of Contractors' log records were made available for performance monitoring.

In defining lateness, the Executive would propose to use the agreed published timetable as the basis for measuring performance. It is suggested that the reporting system should work in 5 or 6 minute units, reflecting the practice of recording marine operations. The figures in Annex D assume a 5 minute unit, but this could be amended subject to the system to be used by the Contractor.


Definition: reliability deals with a service running on the route as scheduled. If the sailing is cancelled, or becomes significantly late that it is in effect cancelled, the service is effectively not provided. The ferry service would be deemed to have completed a service if it completes a voyage between Campbeltown and Ballycastle, or vice versa, subject to a relief event (see below) applying.

Recourse: The thresholds applying for recourse under the contract would be where:-

  • in a 4-week period, reliability on the route falls below 90%, i.e. 10% of sailings or more are cancelled;
  • over a 12-week period, reliability on the route falls below 95%;
  • where the service does not operate for a period of 2 consecutive days:

Grievance procedures as set out under the contract Terms and Conditions would apply. This may result in a termination event being triggered. The Contractor would be required to enter into immediate discussion with the Executive where any of the situations above arose.

In addition:-

  • where there is no service for 7 consecutive days, the Executive may implement alternative measures to provide the service. This would involve taking reasonable steps, but the Executive may seek reimbursement from the Contractor for any additional costs involved.

Penalty: where a sailing is cancelled, or significantly late that it is in effect cancelled, a deduction of grant will be made. The deduction will be calculated per sailing cancelled. The amount of deduction will be the average grant per sailing for the financial year concerned.


Definition: Punctuality is defined for monitoring purposes as the service departing and arriving within 10 minutes of the scheduled sailing time. In relation to penalties the system would be triggered where a departure or arrival is late by 15 minutes or more, subject to a relief event applying (see below).

Recourse: would apply under thresholds as follows:-

  • where in any 4-week period, more than 10% of sailing are between 15-30 minutes late, the Contractor will be required to enter into immediate discussion with the Executive.
  • where in any 12 week period delays of over 30 minutes applied in more than 5% of sailings, grievance procedures under the contract may be triggered.

Penalty: a penalty would apply where a sailing arrives either late or significantly late. 'Late' , for the purposes of the penalty is defined as being between 15-30 minutes delayed and 'significantly late' is defined as being delayed more than 30 minutes after the scheduled arrival time (departure times would still be monitored).

Where the service arrives late or significantly late a deduction from the grant will be made.

  • For a delay of 15-30 minutes a 15% deduction of the average grant per sailing allocated within the financial year involved would apply.
  • For a significant delay of more than 30 minutes a maximum of 25% deduction would apply.

Relief Events

There would be no penalties for either reliability or punctuality where there is a relief event. A relief event would allow either party to the contract "relief" from fulfilling their obligations in the contract. There will be standard contractual relief events built into the contract, e.g. force majeure, certain changes in the law, terrorism.

In addition, we expect that the contract terms would include relief events in the following circumstances:-

  • adverse weather conditions or safety factors outwith the Contractors' control (at the discretion of the vessels master)
  • vessel, crew or passenger safety (at the discretion of the vessel's master)
  • decisions by the vessel's master in relation to protecting safety of life at sea
  • operational events outwith the Contractor's control e.g. unavailability of harbour or unrelated industrial action
  • where a delayed sailing has a knock-on effect on subsequent sailings, this may be taken into account in assessing the impact on the service
  • delays relating to meeting planned arrangements for integrated public transport services connecting with the sailing
  • exceptional circumstances in relation to customer/service users' needs

Any relief event would require a written request giving details of the full circumstances for the delay or cancellation. The contractual documents will set out the Executive's role in deciding whether a relief event occurrence applies.