FOI reference: FOI/17/02830
Date received: 10 November 2017
Date responded: 11 December 2017
Whether there exists a timetable for the upgrade of the A9 to dual carriageway, and if so, a copy of this, and
Any information which gives an overview of the scrutiny and project management processes.
As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.
This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.
I will address your particular questions in turn:
First of all, you have requested a copy of the timetable for the upgrade of the A9 to dual carriageway. I have provided a link to the project level programme for the design and development work which can be found on Transport Scotland's website at: A9 dual carriageway timetable (PDF 171kb)
I can confirm that the first section of the dualling programme between Kincraig and Dalraddy became fully operational on 30 September 2017. The second section between Luncarty and Birnam is in procurement with the main construction contract expected to be awarded in the first half of 2018. Design work on the remaining 9 projects of the dualling programme is well underway with over 90 per cent of the 80 mile dualling programme having now reached preferred route status. Our focus is now on completing the statutory processes for the programme, so it is too early to be definitive on the construction timetable for individual projects. Delivery of the individual projects themselves can only commence when the project is approved under the statutory procedures and thereafter a timetable for construction can be set. However, I can confirm that the Scottish Government remains committed to delivering the A9 Dualling Programme by 2025.
Secondly, you have requested any information which gives an overview of the scrutiny and project management processes.
The Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) is issued by the Scottish Ministers to provide guidance to the Scottish Government and other relevant bodies on the proper handling and reporting of public funds. It sets out the relevant statutory, parliamentary and administrative requirements, emphasises the need for economy, efficiency and effectiveness, and promotes good practice and high standards of propriety. The SPFM can be accessed online at: Scottish Public Finance Manual
The Major Investment Projects section of the SPFM provides mandatory guidance on procuring, managing and monitoring the delivery of major investment projects and is therefore relevant to the A9 Dualling Programme.
Independent Assurance aims to increase the likelihood that change initiatives delivered by policy, programmes or projects achieve the intended results and outcomes. It involves people who are not directly associated with the initiative or delivery area. This brings a fresh perspective and constructive challenge for teams tasked with delivering in complex but strategically important environments and gives Accountable Officers, Senior Responsible Owners and Ministers confidence in the delivery of major commitments.
Independent assurance is mandatory for certain categories of change initiatives and conditions are detailed in the SPFM as above.
One of the main components of independent assurance is the Gateway Review process. These are short, focused reviews that occur at key decision points. The Reviews are conducted on behalf of the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) by a team of experienced practitioners, independent of the Project Team.
A Review is only a snap-shot of the project at this time and recommendations are based on the interviews undertaken and evidence presented. The review is intended to be supportive and forward looking and will take future plans into account but only as future intentions, rather than actualities. There have been two Gateway Reviews of the A9 Dualling: Perth to Inverness Programme. The first one was held in in May 2013, and this was followed by a subsequent Gateway in April 2015. Further Gateway Reviews have been undertaken as individual A9 projects progress to procurement and construction.
Further guidance on Gateway Reviews can be found on the Scottish Government website at the following link: Gateway Review
Guidance designed for specific sectors must be adhered to as appropriate. For construction projects the delivery of all construction projects must adhere to the guidance in the Construction Procurement Manual which can be found online at: Construction Procurement Manual
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House