The contracts were awarded to two private sector firms whose bids were preferred to those submitted by local authority-based consortia.
Scottish National Party spokesman Bruce Crawford condemned the decision to involve PwC and accused Scottish transport minister Sarah Boyack of ‘staggering misjudgement’, in allowing the firm to help draw up the tender documents, assess the original bids and conduct an independent review of them.
But PwC claims it did not participate in any way in the bid evaluation process and the subsequent post-evaluation investigation. A spokesman for PwC’s Edinburgh office said the firm acted solely as a subcontractor to engineering firm Halcrow Crouch, as part of a Performance Audit Group.
‘During the recent second round tendering of the management and maintenance contracts, all support provided by PAG to the Scottish Executive was from Halcrow Crouch,’ the spokesman said.
According to PwC, the PAG was commissioned by the Scottish Office in 1995 as an independent body to carry out auditing and monitoring of technical, financial and quality assurance aspects of organisations given contracts to manage and maintain the Scottish trunk road network.
PwC said it would be taking no further action to correct Crawford.
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