Next year’s Radio TT commentary will go out to competitive tender, after Manx Radio was given it when an exemption was applied to this year’s coverage.
Details about this and the cancelled 2019/20 tender have been released following an FoI request.
The requester had asked the DfE to release all information regarding the 2019/20 tender, what intervention there had been in that decision process, why Energy FM hadn’t been informed of the tender being ended and why Manx Radio was given the contract without a tender this year.
In its response, the DFE said that it was withholding some information as ‘the provision will be subject to a competitive tender for 2023 and onwards and it is the view of this department that release of these costs will prejudice that tender process’.
However, for this year’s racing, Manx Radio was gifted the commentary without a tender process being carried out.
The DfE said this was because the ‘considerable’ changes being introduced for this year’s TT, such as TT+, moving to a new supplier for radio commentary represented ‘ too significant a risk at this moment in time’.
Having agreed that Manx Radio should be provided with an exemption to be gifted this year’s commentary, the strategy went to the Economic Recovery Group for a decision.
The FoI response added: ‘Once developed the strategy was presented to the Economic Recovery Group to enable funding for the various aspects of the strategy, the strategy was accepted and funding was approved as shown by the provided cut up.
‘As the radio broadcast in itself was seen to be a minor part of the overall strategy, there was no formal written decision by this Department to not to tender for the provision, rather to retain status quo and appoint Manx Radio for a single year.’
It has also been confirmed that Manx Radio will host this year’s Manx Grand Prix commentary, although this will be done in a more traditional TT manner, ‘with three commentary points and a pit lane reporter’.
With the cancellation of the 2020 TT, the commentary tender for that year’s racing was also abandoned.
In the FoI response, it is revealed that only Manx Radio and Energy Media UK Ltd (Energy FM) had made tender submissions.
Following a review by four DfE officers and one independent person, both submissions were found to be non-compliant. Following additional information, only one was then found to be compliant, with that company, which isn’t named, then being recommended to receive the contract.
However, following more presentations and a rescoring, that decision was overturned ‘due to resourcing’.
A decision was then reached on April 8 2020 to award the contract, but to delay it for one year due to Covid. However, that decision was then challenged when the DfE received further advice not to issue the contract, but to end the process and seek to re-tender once the Covid situation became clearer.
Despite agreeing to this, the department said it ‘holds no information of whether responses went out to both organisations’, being Manx Radio and Energy Media UK Ltd.