31 October 2022
By Bill Heaney
The Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee will today embark on a fact-finding visit to the Ferguson Marine shipyard across the Clyde in Port Glasgow as part of its scrutiny of the Auditor General for Scotland’s report, New Vessels for the Clyde and Hebrides.
The focus of the visit is to engage directly with the workforce, senior management and trade union representatives to hear their experiences of constructing the vessels. It is hoped that the visit will add a fresh perspective and further context to the wide range of evidence gathered by the Committee over the last few months.
Committee Convener, Richard Leonard MSP, right, Deputy Convener Sharon Dowie MSP and Members – Willie Coffey MSP and Craig Hoy MSP will also see first-hand how the commissioning programme on MV Glen Sannox and the build programme on Hull 802 is progressing and how the significant operational challenges outlined in the Auditor General’s report are being addressed.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Committee Convener, Richard Leonard MSP, said: “We’re on site today to hear the views of the workforce who were around in 2015 and so have direct experience of constructing the vessels. Getting out and hearing from these important voices first-hand will add context to the wide range of evidence we’ve already taken in a more formal setting at Holyrood.
“We’ll also meet with senior management and trade union representatives and gain a further understanding of the logistics and layout of the operation.
“This ‘on-the-ground’ perspective will be invaluable – as we seek to get to the bottom of why there have been such long delays, why costs have soared to almost three and a half times the value of the original contract and what must be done to ensure that the same errors are not made on future transport projects.”
The Committee will then hear from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, right, on November 4. This public session will allow the Committee to question the First Minister directly about her role, and that of her government, in the contract.
The Committee is also due to consider, in private, written responses from the SNP’s Stuart McMillan MSP., and Justice Minister, Keith Brown MSP, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and Transport Scotland.
More detail about the Committee’s scrutiny of ‘New Vessels for the Clyde and Hebrides – Arrangements to deliver vessels 801 and 802’ can be found on its webpage.