Bilfinger Berger Siemens (BBS) were appointed to undertake the civil engineering works and electrical works for the Edinburgh Trams Scheme in 2008.


Excellent work and help from Newgate (PPS) contributed to a successful outcome

Transport Initiative Edinburgh (TIE) was established in 2002 as the arms length organisation of the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) responsible for implementing the council’s transport strategy and to manage the deliverability of a tram line to the city. In 2008 a very public contractual dispute broke out between TIE and BBS over the infrastructure construction works. This dispute led to all tram works ceasing in the city, causing a significant disruption to Edinburgh city centre and a considerable loss of trade to the main shopping hub.

Over this period Bilfinger Berger and Siemens’ reputations suffered as a result of negative press coverage and misinformation in the public domain. Newgate (previously PPS) was appointed in the Spring of 2010 to provide high level strategic advice and advise on how best to respond to the many challenges faced by BBS as a result of what was by then the UK’s highest profile contractual dispute.

Newgate's work included:

  • High level strategic advice and tactical advice on handling the dispute
  • Strategic advice in handling key stakeholders in local and national government, including clarifying the key facts in relation to the dispute
  • High level meetings with key stakeholders to the project
  • Liaison and correspondence with political stakeholders
  • Ongoing correspondence and liaison with key individuals in TIE and Edinburgh City Council
  • Ongoing strategic advice and guidance

The reputation of BBS was considerably restored, and Siemens was able to avoid significant abortive expenditure on the project. BBS was separately successful in winning the vast majority of the formal disputes over the contract. This helped to secure meaningful arbitration, which in turn secured agreement between the various parties. The role that Newgate played helped lower the temperature of the public debate on the project by focusing attention off the key players and on to the facts. Ultimately, the resolution of the dispute was made much easier as a result of this advice.

David Darcy, Managing Director, Civil UK, Bilfinger Berger said:
“The excellent work and help from Newgate (PPS) contributed to a successful outcome allowing for an amicable solution to be achieved. Thank you very much for the great work and support you provided through what has been a very difficult period for all concerned. We would hope to look to Newgate (PPS) for support in the future on a case by case basis.”