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SEARCH AND RESCUE

Wednesday February 9th, 2011
SEARCH AND RESCUE SELL-OFF HITS THE ROCKS
‘Irregularities’ have been blamed for the government’s suspension of plans to privatise the British Search and Rescue helicopter service. The bidding process was apparently found to be flawed when the preferred supplier, Franco-Canadian consortium, Soteria admitted having access to commercially sensitive information regarding the £6bn procurement programme.
Because of this the Department of Transport and Ministry of Defence have stated that Soteria would not now be used and MoD police are investigating the situation.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said of the suspension, 'The Preferred Bidder in the SAR-H competition, Soteria, came forward to inform the government of irregularities regarding the conduct of their bid team which had only then recently come to light... The irregularities included access by one of the consortium members, CHC Helicopter, to commercially sensitive information regarding the joint MOD/DfT project team's evaluations of industry bids and evidence that a former member of that project team had assisted the consortium in its bid preparation, contrary to explicit assurances given to the project team.'
He also added that the MoD and MoT would now”consider the potential procurement options to meet future requirements for search and rescue helicopters in the United Kingdom, including options to maintain continuity of search and rescue helicopter cover until new longer term arrangements can be put in place'.
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