THROUGH THE Crown Commercial Service, the Department for Transport is seeking consultants to advise on options for introducing upfront payments when rail franchises are awarded. The work would consider the impact such payments could have on the ‘incentives of bidders, operators, taxpayers and passengers’. DfT also wants to understand how upfront payments could be applied to different franchise structures that could be introduced in future. Essential skills and experience for this project include experience of working on rail franchise competitions. DfT is particularly interested in the way the structure of commercial propositions put forward by the Department influences bidder behaviour and franchise robustness. Roger Ford