Expressed in the politest possible terms, the report by Sir Andrew Foster is a damning indictment of the Department for Transport and its working methods.
"The real issue here, I believe, is that there has been insufficient communication between the Department and the industry, including communication about IEP, and this has opened the way for significant negativity to develop. This is a key area for attention and further improvement. This problem, particularly with IEP, appears to have been amplified by DfT’s procurement approach, which has placed heavy emphasis on commercial confidentiality and thus relied on independent advisers and consultants rather than industry expertise. This has engendered a sense of disengagement and disenchantment which I believe could and should largely have been avoided. I also ask a number of questions about arrangements for managing the costs and coherence of independent advice within the Department".
"At the end of the earlier section on value for money I asked why a programme which has passed its technical VfM tests is regarded so negatively. I have suggested that there are three types of reason for this: first there are unresolved technical questions, secondly it is not clear that all the potentially viable alternatives to IEP have been adequately assessed, and thirdly there are some issues around DfT’s management approach and its engagement and communication with the railway industry.
"In short, there is a good deal about the programme as it stands that is unresolved, unproven, uncertain and carries risk."
Review of the Intercity Express Programme by Sir Andrew Foster and Appendix