As the costs of the new trains rise, Merseytravel’s lawyers buy drinks and you’re paying for it (as well as taxis, wi-fi on trains and other expenses)!
Last Friday, Merseytravel answered a FOI request of mine for various invoices.
One of them was a £8,202,748.56 invoice which is part payment for 52 new trains. Regular readers of this blog will know that the contract with Stadler has both triggered industrial action and a lawsuit by the other bidder.
On the subject of the legal action, invoices were previously supplied to this blog, the Particulars of Claim were published and the judicial decision states that the latter is not confidential.
However a number of invoices on Merseytravel’s legal expenses have been refused. The previously disclosed invoices state very little, but Merseytravel have refused on legal professional privilege grounds (section 42). A similar request to Liverpool City Council (which resulted in a refusal) resulted in a decision notice requesting disclosure (albeit Liverpool City Council refused on different grounds, then ignored the decision notice until I brought it up with their Monitoring Officer).
That decision notice also discusses in detail the commercial confidentiality arguments for and against disclosure (and decides in favour of limited disclosure).
Moving on from the ever thorny issue of what should or shouldn’t be disclosed here’s a brief list of what was disclosed (that may or may not be of wider interest).
DLA Piper invoices which relate in part to the rolling stock project which include a very detailed list of expenses such as this line (the blacked out bit I’ve replaced with XXXs):-
Subsistence Client Entertainment – XXXXXXXXX 17.2.2017 – Drinks with clients £34.50
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