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NDA reponse to Sunday Times' Article of 25th June Regarding Bechtel and Competition
27 June 2006
In response to an article in the Sunday Times on 25th June regarding the NDA’s decision to allow Bechtel to compete in future competitions, the NDA makes the following points:
This decision was announced at an industry day in Cumbria on 26 April attended by over 200 people, and a detailed statement was issued on our web site the same day. The story was covered by media in the Cumbria area and had been trailed by the Sunday Telegraph a week earlier. We are mystified therefore as to how the Sunday Times can have claimed that the NDA’s decision had ‘only emerged this weekend’.
The Sunday Times chose not to include in their story the explanation they had been provided with as to why the NDA had concluded that Bechtel should be allowed to compete if they chose to do so. The following explanation was provided:
Bechtel were originally contracted by the DTI to assist the Liabilities Management Unit in setting up the NDA, along with other specialist organisations such as Herbert Smith and Deloittes. Bechtel helped to formulate the contracts with the incumbent contractors, to establish programme controls and to introduce the concept of the life cycle base line which provides a framework for contractors to develop a detailed understanding of the programme and cost for each site.
When the Bechtel contract was extended to assist the NDA in its early development after its launch on 1 April 2005 it was agreed that Bechtel could not bid for tier 1 contracts before June 2008 if the NDA believed that they had an unfair commercial advantage.
Consideration was given to this in April this year and our assessment – which we shared publicly - was that Bechtel has no unfair commercial advantage arising from its previous role in the creation of the NDA and that it should be free to compete for NDA contracts if it chooses to do so. We reached this view for two principal reasons: much of the NDA’s thinking has moved on and evolved, especially in relation to any new contracts; and, also because many major contractors – and potential competitors - have already secured significant contracts or formed partnerships with BNG or UKAEA who have themselves unrivalled understanding of the sites they operate.
Finally, the article mentioned that two NDA Board directors have previously worked for Bechtel. This is correct, and their biographies, which accurately reflect this, have been available on our web site since the time of their appointment.