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Advisors to Department for Transport’s Direct Award Programme

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CPCS, as lead negotiator, facilitated the seamless introduction of a new rail contract between DfT and private rail operator East Anglia Rail (now Greater Anglia).


Sector: Transport, passenger rail

Client: Department for Transport

Client type: Government

Location: United Kingdom

Project type: Transaction

Advisory services: Due diligence, commercial assessements



Assignment: The Department for Transport (DfT) engaged CPCS to act as lead negotiator responsible for overseeing the complex commercial procedures involved in agreeing and finalizing a new, direct award contract for passenger rail services.

Specifically, we supported the Department’s Direct Award team who’s responsible for closing transactions and managing contractual aspects with private rail operators. Ultimately, the goal is ensuring that direct awards “represent value for money and are in the taxpayers’ and passengers’ interest.”

Catch up quick: Within the UK rail franchising landscape, a “direct award” refers to an agreement granted by DfT to a rail operator without the need for a competitive selection process.

  • Our involvement occurred under DfT’s Specialist Technical and Commercial Advisory Services for Rail and other Transport modes (STARTwo) framework.

  • STARTwo enables the UK government to “access to high quality, professionally qualified and experienced specialist third party advisory support for a range of service requirements.”

Services in brief:

  • Provided leadership, guidance, and coaching to DfT’s specialists and decision-makers.

  • Reviewed commercial and contractual documents.

  • Scrutinised and challenged stakeholders, consistently pursuing the best possible outcomes for passengers.

Outcome: Our collaborative work culminated in a successful agreement delivered on time and within budget. CPCS was later enlisted to support and mentor one of DfT’s in-house Lead Negotiators during the final weeks of a subsequent, complex transaction.

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