CNER Awarded Just Transition Funding
In September 2022 CNER was awarded £250,000 of funding from the Just Transition Fund. This would mark the beginning of a long period of negotiation and discussion between the stakeholders of the proposed study. Those being; CNER, AGCC, JTF, Transport Scotland, and NESTRANS. Negotiations largely centred around the fee structure and how monies would be processed from the Scottish Government, and ultimately to the chosen consultant, as well as technical aspects such as the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder, levels of involvement, channels and frequency of reporting and communication, and tax and legal implications from the award.
Aberdeen Grampian Chamber of Commerce signed on as equal partners with CNER to act as sponsors for the grant, and agreement was established wherein AGCC will pay a consultant directly, and draw down the JTF award directly from the Scottish Government. This way, CNER and indeed any consultant can have the confidence that all legal and tax requirements have been checked with t's crossed and i's dotted, since the contract will be awarded between the consultant and AGCC through their normal procedure. For a concrete example of what kind of benefit this gave CNER; JTF funding awards require that consultants are selected through a fair and legal tendering process. By partnering with AGCC, CNER avoid the need to spend precious time and money designing and approving a bespoke tender process, checking for technical legality along the way, as AGCC already have an established independent tender process for awarding contracts of all types and sizes. CNER and AGCC are working together at all stages to progress this project in a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Once this arrangement was agreed by all parties, we proceeded immediately into the first phase of tendering for a consultant, which eventually led us to awarding the successful consultant in Summer 2023.
Unfortunately, since a lot of this negotiation involved confidential information from various parties, this period appeared to our supporters as a long wait of silence from CNER. There's only so many times you can say "things are happening, stay tuned!" before people lose interest, and we are so grateful for the patience of our backers through that period. Thankfully, now that the study is underway, we aren't under the same level of embargo as we once were throughout that process.