Kate Mingay, suspended over West Coast Rail affair, comes out fighting

Kate Mingay - fighting back

Kate Mingay, one of the three Department for Transport civil servants suspended over the West Coast Rail franchising problems, has come out fighting. She’s released a statement.  This is most unusual  for a civil servant – but her reputation and entire career is on the line and if she believes she is not to blame, she is absolutely right to fight back.


5 October 2012

Statement by Mrs Kate Mingay (Director, Commercial and Technical Services, Department for Transport)

While it has been widely reported in the context of the award of the franchise for the West Coast Mainline that I have been suspended, my role has been inaccurately portrayed mainly due to statements and other comment made by the Department for Transport itself.

I would like to make it clear that:

•    I did not have lead responsibility for this project;
•    Neither I nor any member of my team had any responsibility for the economic modelling for this project, or for any Department for Transport project;
•    Nor did I have any responsibility for the financial modelling in respect of this project;
•    I have not been involved in briefing Department for Transport ministers or other government ministers in respect of this project.

I will of course cooperate fully with all ongoing and future investigatory processes in relation to this matter, but wanted to correct the completely inaccurate portrayal of my role immediately.

Assuming Mingay is accurately representing her role, then it seems astonishing that she has been suspended. As some of our commentators here on our previous  posts have suggested, there’s a real possibility the civil servants are convenient scapegoats.

If that is the case, then as well as the actual problems with the procurement, there will be some second order issues around the treatment of the people involved and the behaviour of Ministers.

As “Phoenix” said – “Free the West Coast Three”!

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Voices (2)

  1. greendragon:

    The best thing civil servants can do is start looking for other employment. If they start to leave in droves, then maybe the government will start to respect the staff more. I think the government are wanting to privatise the services and that is why they are looking for reasons to find fault with staff. After all, this government is the one who privatised the railways and so is the one responsible for the mess.

  2. Beenthere:

    Self preservation – a new skill that all senior civil servants will have to acquire – looking forward to seeing it appear on the core skill set:
    Strategic: maintain awareness of players and their movements
    1. identify & document skeletons – before they are buried
    2. mark carefully where they are
    3. ensure the burial party is known
    4. draft eulogy ready for dropping on target at a time for “good news”

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