A pledge to introduce MOT-style testing on vehicles in Jersey by 2022 has stalled after no companies applied to carry out the job, meaning that government is now tendering in the UK for the £6million project.
It has emerged that the plans could be pushed back at least a year due to a lack of interest from companies at the outset of the tender process, meaning that Driver and Vehicle Standards (DVS) are having to look in the UK as well as locally for someone to carry out the work.
The issue arose during an exchange at yesterday’s Scrutiny hearing regarding Infrastructure matters.
Deputy Kirsten Morel, chairing the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure panel in the absence of its usual Chair (Constable Mike Jackson) and Vice-Chair (Constable John Le Maistre), raised the issue when questioning Head of DVS Gordon Forrest.
Pictured: Deputy Kirsten Morel was chairing the Scrutiny meeting.
When asked on the progress of the tender process for what was referred to as a “options appraisal” for vehicle testing – which is a piece of work researching how Jersey should go about bringing in this style of tests – it emerged that the project has already fallen behind on its original timeline.
Passed by the States Assembly back in November and with around £6.5million earmarked in the Government Plan 2020-2023, it was initially pledged that the testing of vehicles in Jersey would be brought in to bring the island in line with a UN convention on road traffic.
It’s proposed that car drivers will have to submit their vehicles for roadworthiness testing every three years and motorcyclists every two years. A document attached to the Government Plan elaborates: “This is likely to require the inspection of circa 40,000 vehicles per annum.”
This document, which was only published in July of this year, promises that the “options appraisal study will be undertaken over 2019 to determine the best option for deliver, with an agreed business case and delivery model established by the end of 2019.”
Pictured: Money has been earmarked in the Government Plan for introducing MOT-style testing to Jersey.
It continues: “It is currently anticipated that permanent arrangements for the Periodic Technical Inspection of all vehicles in Jersey will be in place by 2022, subject to the outcome of the options appraisal study.”
Now, however, it’s emerged that not one company has put themselves forward to carry out said study despite there supposedly being “a lot of interest” in the contract from local businesses.
Answering questions from Deputy Morel, Mr Forrest explained it had been hoped that the appraisal would have been completed by February of next year, but due to the dearth of responses to the pre-tender, they are now looking at April.
Mr Forrest told the Panel: “There’s been a slight delay with the PQQ – the pre-tender process – where we had a lot of interest but no one actually responded” – a remark which was met with some laughter from the Scrutiny panellists.
Pictured: It's proposed that car drivers will have to submit their vehicle for testing every three years.
Answering further questions, the DVS Head added that the contract had been advertised through the Government procurement portal, insisting that it is a “widely read” platform and “there was a lot of interest” which then translated to zero responses to the pre-tender.
However, Mr Forrest could not explain why this was.
“We’re not sure, but we’ve gone out locally again and to the UK targeted certain companies and we’re expecting them to actually respond to the tender.”
When asked if this will have ramifications for the department target of being compliant with the UN convention, Mr Forrest confirmed that they were initially aiming for 2022, but that it’s “Possibly looking like 2023 now… depending on the option that’s chosen.”
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