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  1. gibbo
    Member

    http://www.scotsman.com/regions/edinburgh-fife-lothians/edinburgh-tram-extension-should-wait-for-overspend-verdict-1-4549502

    This page has a "computer generated image of how the trams would look on Leith Walk."

    Go look to see where your bike lanes are, my friends...

    PS To make it look even remotely credible, the image had to pretend there'll be no parking on the southbound lane.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. Klaxon
    Member

    All of this week's CGI is based directly on the 2004 design which is going to be passed to the winning design and build contractor as a 'reference design'

    SO in theory every single element about the road design between York Place and Western Harbor is game for considerable adjustment, with the exception of the new Leith Walk 'tram ready' kerb line.

    BUT these designs all won planning consent in 2008 and thus without clear and unambiguous direction from the Council that the 2004 designs are unsafe, non compliant with modern principals, and directly lead to a death at the west end, I fear we we will see another repeat of what I'm calling the 'master planning problem'

    1. A masterplan sets down a poorly evaluated and 'indicative' design 'for detailed examination and planning consent later'
    2. The builder takes the masterplan and applies for planning consent 'as is' because there is a presumption in favour of following the masterplan and large financial risks in deviating from the plan only to be rejected
    3. Once planning consent is given nothing ever changes even if the Council wants it because the short term cost/benefit of a late stage redesign is marginal or nonexistent

    Posted 2 months ago #
  3. chdot
    Admin

  4. Klaxon
    Member

    At the special TEC yesterday (4/9/17) the procurement exercise was approved 8 to 3. This will consist of a pre-qualification period and then invitation to tender for approved companies, with a "put shovels in the ground" decision coming back to full council Nov 2018.

    The webcast will be available at https://edinburgh.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/293980
    The agenda and business case is available at https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4225/transport_and_environment_committee#minutesDateSearchWidget

    The following amendments were tabled. The Lib Dem and Green amendments were carried.

    Liberal Democrat Amendment
    Moved by Gillian Gloyer

    To add at start of 1.1.3: ‘Subject to a further report to TEC, within 2 cycles, on the options and
    implications for financing the funding gap in the worst-case sensitivity test, [agrees…]’
    To amend 1.1.3, point 3, to read as follows: ‘Allow further time for the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry to
    report, in order to ensure that its recommendations can be incorporated into the project plans
    and governance arrangements before contracts for the main construction works are signed.’
    To amend 1.1.4, to read as follows: ‘Agrees that, prior to any contracts for the main construction
    works being signed, they will be reviewed by an independent assessor from outwith CEC and
    further approvals will then be sought;’
    To add new 1.1.8, to read as follows: ‘ Notes that significant new housing developments around
    the city will have an impact on Edinburgh’s Local Transport Strategy and that the tram project
    must be linked to the broader transport requirements across the city.’

    Green Addendum
    Moved by Chas Booth

    To insert a new recommendation 1.1.5 to read as follows, and to renumber the
    existing recommendations accordingly:
    “1.1.5 Notes the decision of full council on 29 June 2017 that the design of any
    future tram line extension will reflect the council’s policies to prioritise pedestrian &
    cyclist safety and convenience, including consideration of segregated cycle lanes,
    and therefore agrees to consult with key stakeholders including pedestrian and
    cycle groups in developing detailed plans for the extension to Newhaven.”

    Amendment – Conservative Group
    Moved by Councillor Nick Cook
    Seconded by Councillor Scott Douglas

    Item No. – 4.1(b)
    Edinburgh Tram – York Place to Newhaven – Updated Outline
    Business Case
    Deletes Report recommendations and replaces with:
    1.1 Notes the content of the report
    1.2 Regrets that the Updated Outline Business Case has not changed fundamentally from
    proposals considered by Council at several junctures in 2015.
    1.3 Agrees to take no action due to the fact the proposals continue to:
    - Expose the Council to a high degree of financial and reputational risk
    - Present poor value and fail to constitute prudent use of taxpayers’ money, particularly at
    a time of continued public sector funding pressures
    - Rely too heavily on a wide variety of assumptions
    - Proceed prior to publication of the full findings of the Hardie Inquiry into what went so
    badly awry with the previous project; considers the proposals presented in respect of the
    Inquiry findings to be presumptive and wholly inadequate to ensure lessons are learned
    meaningfully and comprehensively
    - Impact negatively upon Lothian Buses and remain likely to lead to higher fares for
    passengers

    These excerpts were taken from the webcast archive page.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  5. chdot
    Admin

  6. chdot
    Admin

    "

    FORMER council leader Jenny Dawe today told the Edinburgh tram inquiry of her frustration at being denied information on the troubled project by the authority’s own arms-length company TIE.

    ...

    We were unaware there were certain aspects that certain officers were aware of.”

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/edinburgh-trams-inquiry-secrecy-hampered-project-progress-1-4551356

    Posted 2 months ago #
  7. chdot
    Admin

  8. chdot
    Admin

    "

    There is a principled view that favours extending – or completing – the tram to Newhaven, as per the business case to be considered today by Edinburgh City Council’s transport committee.

    Equally as principled is the view that, for the foreseeable future, the council shouldn’t touch the project with a barge pole.

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/opinion/nick-cook-the-tram-case-should-terminate-here-1-4548527

    Posted 2 months ago #
  9. chdot
    Admin

    "

    A COUNCIL legal expert knew councillors were being given inaccurate information on the trams but was told to “shut up” when he challenged senior colleagues about it, the inquiry into the troubled project has heard.

    Former city Tory group leader Jeremy Balfour, now a Lothians MSP, also said the same official, Alastair Maclean, believed the original tram contract was “a piece of mince”.

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/transport/edinburgh-tram-inquiry-expert-told-to-shut-up-over-tram-fears-1-4554748

    Posted 2 months ago #
  10. kaputnik
    Moderator

    Save yourself the time and effort of reading the updates on the trams enquiry by instead imagining a room full of people who were involved in it all pointing the finger at someone else in the room and simultaneously telling you why it wasn't their fault, 'onest guv.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. chdot
    Admin

    True, all 'responsible' - but to different degrees.

    I suspect they won't look back far enough to blame some of earliest people who shouldn't have been anywhere near this project.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. Stickman
    Member

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/paris-gourtsoyannis-tram-inquiry-can-t-decide-the-future-1-4557298

    "Are we making the right decisions so that our towns and cities will be more liveable in 60 years, not less? And are we committing enough resources to deliver on that goal?

    The Edinburgh tram inquiry won’t give us the answers, but those are the questions that urgently need to be asked."

    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. chdot
    Admin

    "

    “If difficult or awkward questions were being asked, senior TIE/TEL staff would complain to council senior management.

    “I experienced this personally when after attending a meeting of the TPB [Tram Project Board], Donald McGougan was approached and I was requested not to attend future meetings.

    “As experienced and highly paid experts, it felt as if TIE did not understand that council officers had a duty to question them to ensure that the council’s interests were being protected.”

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/edinburgh-tram-inquiry-financial-warnings-fell-on-deaf-ears-1-4558896

    Which won't come as a surprise to many people.

    TIE has a lot to answer for - not that I expect any individuals will be held responsible in any way that counts (like paying back any of the money they got paid).

    I presume questions will be asked about arms length companies why they were/are a 'good' idea.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  14. Stickman
    Member

    https://planetradio.co.uk/forth/local/news/exclusive-plans-make-edinburgh-tram-tracks-safer-cyclists/


    Now, we can reveal that by the end of this month the local authority will start installing signage and road markings along the tram route.
    The signs will include information on the safe distance that should be kept between vehicles and cyclists and how cyclists should cross the tracks correctly.
    The road markings will also make it clearer for cyclists using the route.
    The local authority says it is the first of a set of measures planned for the tracks. Further action will be taken in the coming months.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  15. acsimpson
    Member

    It'll be interesting to see what it on the signs. If it is aimed at drivers to ensure that they know why cyclists are making what they perceive to be strange manoeuvres then they could be a good thing.

    If they are simply trying to victim blame any cyclist who chooses a different crossing technique then less so.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. Frenchy
    Member

    @acsimpson - I spoke very briefly to some council officers about this. At that point they were very early on in the process, but signs aimed at both drivers and cyclists were being planned.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. chdot
    Admin

    Hope they launch them with LB saying they will instruct their drivers.

    (Other bus cos should do too...)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. gibbo
    Member

    @chdot

    “If difficult or awkward questions were being asked, senior TIE/TEL staff would complain to council senior management.

    Then the problem was council senior management.

    In business, someone has to be the adult in the room.

    The buck stopped with the council management, and it was their duty to tell the TIE staff that these "difficult" questions would not only continue, but that the council would encourage them.

    Instead, it seems like the council was happy to let TIE act like a bunch of spoiled little children ... and put those children in charge of a half-billion pound project.

    PS As anyone who has reached a high level in business would tell you, when someone complains about being asked "awkward" questions, that person is almost certainly a lemon who needs to be replaced.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. chdot
    Admin

    "The buck stopped with the council management, and it was their duty to tell the TIE staff that these "difficult" questions would not only continue, but that the council would encourage them."

    That should have happened, and probably could have happened but in practice it wasn't so much an 'arms length company (wholly owned by CEC)' as a law unto itself convincing CEC officials and councillors it had to be left alone.

    I'm sure, initially, CEC was happy to have set TIE adrift and not have the worry/responsibility, but clearly it didn't turn out well!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. chdot
    Admin

    "

    Inquiry counsel Euan Mackenzie asked why, since TIE was wholly owned and funded by the council, it did not just impose control.

    Mr Inch said: “At various stages that did happen. What we had put together was a team of experts and we had to have regard to the views they had about the appropriateness of the sorts of control we were wishing to exercise. There was on our part a view that maybe we didn’t understand sufficiently why controls of a particular nature were not appropriate.”

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/edinburgh-tram-inquiry-tram-boss-awarded-40-000-bonus-by-committee-he-ran-1-4564324

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. gibbo
    Member

    [Mr Inch} said TIE was resistant to providing all the information requested by the council.

    An obvious red flag, but the council chose to look the other way.

    He said: “I guess there was a cost-benefit consideration in terms of how much information the council required and how long it would take to prepare that information.”

    Re-read that: "I guess."

    Half a billion pounds of taxpayer money and the council’s "director of corporate services" decided that just guessing/assuming was due diligence.

    Absolutely no interest in being a professional and put in the work required to be a professional.

    Red Adair famously said, "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do a job, try hiring an amateur."

    The amateurs never once considered that they could save the taxpayer £100m+ by giving up the power and letting a professional run the show.

    No, they wanted the fancy titles and the big salaries. Jobs for the boys.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. gembo
    Member

    Transport Scotland insisted the council set up an arms length company TIE

    The guy in charge of TIE gave himself (or the committee he sat on gave him) a £40k bonus for seven months work, on top of his £170k salary.

    How anyone involved n the trams could give themselves a bonus is a bit hard to understand.

    I am thinking omnishambles

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. chdot
    Admin

    "The amateurs never once considered that they could save the taxpayer £100m+ by giving up the power and letting a professional run the show."

    Jim Inch has certainly condemned himself here, but part of the problem was that various people 'in charge' (at TIE) considered themselves to be the professionals.

    This was certainly not the case in the early days of TIE with most senior staff lacking any experience in railways or trams.

    So when others were belated employed with the apparent skills/expertise they were able to play the 'we know what we are doing' card.

    They could also call councillors amateurs and complain that they were interfering.

    "Transport Scotland insisted the council set up an arms length company TIE" - says Mr. Inch.

    This may be true though alcs were quite common at the time. Perhaps TS weren't confident that CEC couldn't deliver.

    Either way TS walking away from involvement in the tram is likely to have made things worse.

    I suspect this was largely political and due to the involvement of John 'not a penny more' Swinney.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. crowriver
    Member

    "Either way TS walking away from involvement in the tram is likely to have made things worse.

    I suspect this was largely political and due to the involvement of John 'not a penny more' Swinney."

    This is a crucial point to my mind. I certainly hope the details of this will also come out in the wash...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  25. gibbo
    Member

    @chdot

    Jim Inch has certainly condemned himself here, but part of the problem was that various people 'in charge' (at TIE) considered themselves to be the professionals.

    But it's not for them to decide.

    The golden rule in business is that he who has the gold makes the rules. The council was funding this, so whatever was set up was set up by them.

    And any pretence that the council had to go along with what TIE wanted - which is what people like Inch is suggesting - is just nonsense.

    The real question is whether he's lying and knows he's lying or whether he's so utterly incompetent and inexperienced that he has no idea how business works.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. chdot
    Admin

    "The golden rule in business is that he who has the gold makes the rules. The council was funding this, so whatever was set up was set up by them."

    Except that the council isn't a business and whether or not TIE was is part of the problem.

    In a big business the owners are the shareholders - which in many cases means pension funds (on behalf of current and future pensioners) which (speaking very crudely) only care about profits and dividends.

    They appoint a board of directors which appoints a CEO, etc.

    So whose gold is it and how is it controlled is complicated, but generally relies on competence and trust. (Let's not pretend that 'business' always does things professionally or well.)

    "And any pretence that the council had to go along with what TIE wanted - which is what people like Inch is suggesting - is just nonsense."

    That's true. The problem is that Inch (and plenty others) believed they did have to go along with what TIE said - perhaps persuaded by lawyers (council or external).

    Presumably, legally and practically, the responsibility lay with the TIE board which had councillors on it.

    I know nothing about 'arms length companies' in the sense of this actually being a 'thing' other than a company owned by an organisation but (deliberately) without direct control.

    Councils have them, I don't know if other orgs do too.

    I think LB and Edinburgh Leisure are alcs. No idea if there is a common/template structure.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. gibbo
    Member

    Except that the council isn't a business

    It makes no difference. They were funding the project, therefore they were in charge of the project.

    That's true. The problem is that Inch (and plenty others) believed they did have to go along with what TIE said - perhaps persuaded by lawyers (council or external).

    If you're entrusted with half a billion pounds of other people's money, and you don't find out what your responsilities are, then that's 100% on you.

    Not on lawyers. Not on who "persuades" you - as if you're a naive country bumpkin who got played for a sucker by cynical big city folk.

    No, you asked to be put in a position of responsibility. And that means you have responsibilities.

    There's no version of "I was told to not ask questions" that, in any way, forgives not asking questions.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. chdot
    Admin

    "Not on lawyers. Not on who "persuades" you - as if you're a naive country bumpkin who got played for a sucker by cynical big city folk.

    No, you asked to be put in a position of responsibility. And that means you have responsibilities."

    All true.

    I don't know whether the responsibility was with JI. If so whether he realised (which is a whole 'other' and not any sort of excuse!) I assume the final responsibility rested with the Chief Exec who delegated the 'day to day' to someone else.

    I'm still of the view that it suited 'the council' (councillors and officials, individually and collectively) to imagine (possible hope) that part of the responsibility buck remained "at arms length".

    "a naive country bumpkin who got played for a sucker by cynical big city folk" - that might be TIE in the hands of Bilfinger Berger.

    Or perhaps the standoff was due to TIE's ineptitude and BB was just trying to get clear instructions and/or payment for work done according to contract (I don't know).

    Posted 2 months ago #
  29. chdot
    Admin

    Just seen this -

    "

    TRAM boss Richard Jeffrey walked out of a meeting with senior council officials after he was challenged over his plan to seek termination of the contract for the troubled project.

    The tram inquiry, chaired by Lord Hardie, heard that in 2010, the council’s arms-length company TIE believed ending the contract with Bilfinger Berger Siemens was the best option to overcome the problems with the controversial scheme.

    But Alastair Maclean, who was then the council’s head of legal, said he had serious concerns about TIE’s strategy, which he raised with council chief executive Tom Aitchison and others.

    "

    http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/tram-boss-walked-out-of-meeting-with-council-over-contract-termination-plans-1-4565349

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. gibbo
    Member

    @chdot

    I'm still of the view that it suited 'the council' (councillors and officials, individually and collectively) to imagine (possible hope) that part of the responsibility buck remained "at arms length".

    I have no doubt about this. The moment the council had to step up and be adults, they went AWOL instead.

    You see this "cover your arse" thing in the corporate world.

    But those people tend to get stuck in the middle management slow lane. It's the people who take responsibility who climb the ladder.

    The problem with the council is that it's full of people who "talk a good game" but run for cover when it's time to put yourself on the line and make tough decisions.

    And there's no way people like that should be trusted with £500m projects. Because, if they are, this is the inevitable result.

    (As we saw with the parliament building project.)

    Posted 2 months ago #

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