Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Auditor General expresses ‘frustration’ at lack of documents on ferry scandal

The two ferries have been delayed until at least next year (Andrew Milligan/PA)
The two ferries have been delayed until at least next year (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scotland’s Auditor General has expressed his frustration at not being able to review all documentation relating the awarding of a contract for two ferries fraught with delays and overspends.

A recent report from Audit Scotland found there was “insufficient documentary evidence” to explain why the contract was given to Port Glasgow-based Ferguson Marine without a full refund guarantee.

In the years since the contract was awarded, the yard has been saved from administration by the Scottish Government, and the estimated delivery of the vessels has been pushed back by five years, along with an increase in costs from £97 million to at least £250 million.

The Glen Sannox and the as-yet-unnamed hull 802 are now expected to be completed between March and May 2023 and between October and December 2023 respectively.

But, while he expressed his frustration at the lack of documentation, Stephen Boyle told the Public Audit Committee that he believes a record was not created at the time and the Scottish Government is not withholding details.

“There’s clearly a frustration from us that we weren’t able to review what we would consider to be all the relevant evidence,” he said.

“Our judgment is not that evidence has been withheld from us during the course of our audit work, but rather that an important piece of documentary evidence wasn’t prepared to arrive at the judgment that ministers arrived at – to accept the scale of risk so unusual in the scale of this contract and contrary to the advice of the public body (Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited) which oversees the contract.”

He added: “I’m sure it’s a matter that the Civil Service will want to reflect on, about how they best document important decisions that significantly influence not just the use of public money but the provision of extremely important aspects of public services.”

Opposition MSPs failed in their efforts to force ministerial resignations if there are more delays to the ships, with a motion by the Scottish Liberal Democrats being amended by the Government, removing the calls for ministers to quit.

Committee convener Richard Leonard invited Mr Boyle back to give evidence again next week, before a decision on next steps – which reports suggest could include holding a short inquiry into the scandal – is taken.

Mr Leonard said: “Given the significance of the issues and volume of detail in the Audit Scotland report, the committee has decided to take further evidence next week with the Auditor General.

“Following the completion of this evidence-gathering, we will decide our next steps.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from the Press and Journal Politics team

More from the Press and Journal