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Transport official suspended over rail fiasco is ex-Goldman banker - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

A former Goldman Sachs banker in charge of private contracts for the Department for Transport was named yesterday as one of the officials suspended for their alleged role in the West Coast rail franchise fiasco. Kate Mingay, head of commercial at the DfT, is believed to be the most senior of three staff suspended on Wednesday.

She ran a team responsible for the finance model in the bidding for the West Coast Main Line franchise. The decision to strip Sir Richard Branson's company, Virgin Trains, of the multibillion-pound contract and award it to FirstGroup instead was scrapped after the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said there were "significant technical flaws" in the bidding process because of the DfT's mistakes.

Ms Mingay was also part of a team which approved the controversial decision to place a £1.4bn order for new Thameslink trains with the German firm Siemens, rather than the Derby train-maker Bombardier.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 4th, 2012 at 07:54:07 PM EST
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There was an interesting point made on one on the late night political shows here, apparently the department of transport franchising team were considered internationally to be a model of how it should be organised. However, the tories came in and trashed that team entirely, believing it should be done very differently.

And, as I still believe, to respond to an agenda which was less about effective transport (and Virgin were certainly NOT that) than it was about cold hard cash (and not necessarily for the Treasury).

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Oct 5th, 2012 at 03:27:13 AM EST
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I go both ways on the corruption angle - it could be possible, but I think it's not (Occam's Razor) needed to explain what happened.

The problem (as I'm seeing in my health service research at the moment) is that you have a set of civil servants who have a very simplistic view of markets and a religious belief in the power of "market-driven decisions."

This combines in this case to an excessive focus on the initial cost number (which First were lowest on) and no consideration of service levels or indeed of First's track record on bailing on later stage payments.

"The invisible hand would fix that, don't you know?"

As I say, I don't exclude other motives, but what's scary is how unnecessary they are to explain what happened.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Oct 5th, 2012 at 06:13:37 AM EST
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you have a set of civil servants who have a very simplistic view of markets and a religious belief in the power of "market-driven decisions."

In this case, the civil servant is a former "market" participant herself, so naivety may not be the main factor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Oct 11th, 2012 at 07:22:08 AM EST
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