Campbeltown to Ballycastle Ferry Service: written authority - March 2005

Written authority and formal request between the Accountable Officer and Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning regarding the Campbeltown to Ballycastle Ferry Service. A Written Authority is provided to Accountable Officers by Ministers in circumstances when delivering an action is inconsistent with the Accountable Officer’s Duties and a ministerial direction on the specific action is required to continue.

Request for written authority

From: E W Frizzell
To: Minister for Transport
Date: 29 March 2005

Campbeltown to Ballycastle ferry tender

  1. As you know, I have seen the minute from the First Minister's office of 29 March to you, recording that the First Minister is content that you should proceed on the basis that you have Cabinet approval to invite tenders to operate a ferry service between Campbeltown and Ballycastle and issue an instruction to the Accountable Officer, on the basis of an initial subsidy of no more than £1m a year, that increases are limited to inflation, and that the contribution from the Northern Ireland Office is agreed.
  2. I now have to confirm the request in my minute of 4th November 2004 that you issue to me, as the relevant Accountable Officer, written authority to implement the Cabinet's decision to proceed with the tendering of the service. This is necessary because, as my earlier minute indicated, the advice to Ministers, in the light of the financial and economic appraisals that have been carried out in connection with this project and described again in the annex to your Cabinet correspondence minute of 30 September 2004, has indicated that, with a high subsidy requirement and a low level of forecast employment creation, the project did not pass the value for money tests applied to such proposals. A decision to go ahead is therefore at odds with the requirement on me to have regard to value for money in the use of public expenditure, and in the circumstances I consider that it is my duty in terms of section 15(6)(b) and 15(8) of the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000, to obtain written Ministerial authority before I proceed with the tendering. That I would need an instruction has been consistently recorded in the papers on the case, most recently your minute of 16 March 2005 to the First Minister.
  3. The Ministerial authority given would apply to actions taken by any Executive official I consider necessary to implement the Cabinet decision on this ferry service. It would apply to the implementation of any decision the Cabinet may in due course take as a result of the procurement process to award a contract for the service, and to any subsequent payments I may have to authorise under that contract.
  4. You will be aware that when you have issued the written instruction, I will send a copy of it to the Auditor General for Scotland and to the Clerk to the Audit Committee of the Scottish Parliament.


E W Frizzell
29 March 2005




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