A new and updated PUBLIC PROCUREMENT POLICY 2018 guide covering directives, regulations, policies and guidance relating to the procurement of services, supplies and works for the public sector was issued by Crown Commercial Services on March 26, 2018
The Aldous Retentions Protection Bill of 27 April 2018 is now being supported by more than 60 Trade Bodies. As notified by Project Compass previously it was first moved in Parliament in January. Peter Aldous MP who is moving the bill said of this need for reform:
“This coalition of support shows the urgent need for reform and unity of industry following Carillion. Support covers so much of the industry that we now have a golden opportunity to change construction for the better.
“I hope government gets behind industry and this Bill. We need action to protect SMEs before more millions are lost, and this Bill is about ensuring people’s money is safe so businesses can grow and invest in their future.”
Project Compass consider organisations representing construction design professionals should equally be adding their full support and leadership. Yet they are notably absent from the 60 Trade Bodies reported to be currentlky supporting this Bill (see below).
Through a retentions deposit scheme this bill improves conditions in the construction industry. In construction contracts retentions withheld unduly are a significant concern for all including design professionals, whether they are withheld for excessive time or because a contractor goes bankrupt. It has an adverse impact on all particularly SME’s in the supply chain and a healthier construction industry is in the best interests of all.
Project Compass invite you to write to your local MP to express your support for this Bill by 27th April (a template for you to do so is provided HERE), as well as writing to your professional organisation to seek their support.
Supporting Industry Organisations:
Heat Pump Association (HPA)
Process Innovation Forum (PIF)
Specialist Engineering Contractor’s Group (SEC Group)
Frameworks bedevil SME Design Professionals so please take this opportunity to complete this survey here on Government Framework Agreements to communicate your views and help formulate better policy for SME access & engagement, before the 31st of March deadline.
The survey results will be reported on Project Compass in due course.
The letter transcribed below sets out the purpose and objectives of the survey:
” The UK Government is committed to achieving a target that one pound in every three of public money spent annually on goods and services will be spent with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) by the end of the parliament. One of the areas under consideration for improvement is Government Framework Agreements as they relate to SMEs.
By engaging with SMEs differently it is hoped that many more will take part in, and benefit from, new business either directly with government, or indirectly as sub-contractors to Prime Contractors.
The Frameworks Group working within the Cabinet Office SME Panel has been considering this matter and we are now conducting some independent research amongst SMEs to gather measurable information. The results will inform our advice to the Crown Commercial Service, which is part of the Cabinet Office, about the future direction of this type of central government agreement.
If your company is an SME and has had experience of Framework Agreements whilst working with, or attempting to work with the UK Government or its Prime Contractors, we would be interested to hear your views. If you have had no experience at all then please disregard this survey.
All contributions are anonymous and should be completed before 31st March 2018 in order for your data to be included in the results.
We have timed participation to less than ten minutes. We greatly appreciate your help in this matter.
Please click here to participate in this independent study.
Many thanks and kind regards.
Chair, Frameworks Working Group, Cabinet Office SME Panel”
Carillion’s collapse: Project Compass director Russell Curtis has called in ‘Let’s hope the lessons of Carillion’s failure will be learnt’, (AJ 17 January 2018) for “a more diverse supply chain to avoid another Carillion catastrophe, so we can face a future with a diverse, specialist and varied supply chain, which matches projects with proficiency and project scale with practice size.”
The growing crisis within the building industry shows that the driving policies and practices which are aggregating contracting into ever larger private contracts is simply failing, from the Edinburgh Schools fiasco, Grenfell and now Carillion’s collapse.
In UK procurement far practice greater regard now needs to be placed on the available provisions within Directive 2014/24/EU and the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (noted in the informative below). These provisions have to date been in effect disregarded in procurement within England.
Procurement threshold values from 1 January 2018 for Public Contracts are revised. These revisions are biannual and are showing an increase in the GBP values due to fluctuations in exchange rates over the previous two years. These are the new threshold values which now apply generally in construction under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. Small Lots are more fully described in PCR 2015 6 (14) (15) but occur where a defined public procurement is defined as otherwise taking place but lots within it may be excluded.
Services & Supplies contracts
(up from £106,047)
(up from £4,104,394)
|Other Contracting Authorities||
(up from £164,176)
(up from £4,104,394)
under PCR 2015 6 (14) (15)
(up from £62,842)
(up from £785,530)
(With the exception of service contracts under Directive 2014/24/EU Article 74. Article 13 and R & D services under Article 14)
Although these do not so frequently apply within the construction sector, for the thresholds under the Light Touch Regime, thresholds for Social and other specific Services, and thresholds under the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016, Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016, and the Defence and Security Public Contracts Regulations 2011 please refer to Procurement Policy Note PPN 04/17
Short illustrated articles on your experiences of architectural competitions in Europe are invited for the Venice Biennale 2018.
This Open Call is part of a project that aims to improve architectural competitions and design contests by appraising comparative performances, procedures and outputs across Europe to identify issues and best practices, for their improvement and reform. It is part of the joint European programme on Competition Culture in Europe by Project Compass, Architectuur Lokaal and A10 New Architecture Co-operative to be presented in the Italian pavilion, Palazzo Widmann at Venice Biennale in May 2018. Outputs will also be available across Europe on thefulcrum.eu.
To submit please let us know, by writing to ProjectCompassCIC@gmail.com
- 400 -1000 words
- Not including the basic details set out below and any references.
- Min. 2 – Max 6 images. Plans & sections are particularly welcome. Please ensure and confirm the images are licenced creative commons use.
- Experiences collected from architects who have won Design Contests* abroad, to better understand the conditions that apply after a specific competition win in another country, including the benefits and obstacles.
- Critical reflection by architects on substantive competition issues including their practices and outputs. For example architects are still consciously and frequently participating in bad competitions, it is not self-evident that jurors read the rules first and clients are failing to honour results.
- Collecting data that contributes to misunderstandings and preconceptions in competition culture, including the commonly held beliefs that all problems arise from regulations.
- Collecting data into how, in each country, European, national and local laws and regulations are arranged, weighted and customised in competitions so as to provide insights on the benefits and disadvantages of the varied national applications.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION – SEE THE FULL SUBMISSION DETAILS AVAILABLE HERE We look forward to receipt of your submission(s) to this Open Call for the Venice Biennale 2018
The Project Compass Newsletter December 2017 highlights some of our activities over the past 18 months, the publications that have been output, a procurement trends report and our anticipated future activities.
Information on our exciting programme and the range of new activities we plan may be of particular interest to all our supporters and site users. We welcome your participation, collaboration and engagement in some, or any of these, and particularly any contributions towards the Venice Biennale 2018 works. Submission information on this will be made available shortly.
Other activities of interest include the development of more and better engagement in educational modules and our Guerrilla Competitions programme.
As an organisation promoting open access and engagement we always remain open to advancing projects that may be brought forward to us by others, so long as they lie within our Community Interest Company remit. If you have any projects, programmes or ideas which you individually wish to advance, please talk to us or email us at projectcompaccCIC@gmail.com
Peter Aldous MP will introduced a Parliamentary Bill on 9 Jan. 2018 to protect cash retentions in a retention deposit scheme (similar to a tenancy deposit scheme). Project Compass invite you to write to your local MP to express your support for this.
This is an important initiative being promoted by the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group (SEC) Group and their full briefing paper is published below.
Retentions withheld unduly in construction contracts are a significant concern for all in the construction industry including design professionals, whether they are withheld for excessive time or because a contractor goes bankrupt. It has an adverse impact on all and particularly SME’s in the supply chain.
This Parliamentary Bill aims to secure much needed reform. We hope you will help to advocate this change by writing to your MP in support. A letter template for your use is also provided HERE.
FULL TEXT OF THE BRIEFING PAPER PREPARED BY SEC GROUP. November 2017
Continue reading “Peter Aldous MP’s Jan. 2018 Bill to protect retentions”
Following investigations into London’s Garden Bridge nineteen architects have written to the Chair of the GLA Oversight Committee, calling for better ‘bottom up’ enablement of public services through regulatory clarity.
“There is now little motivation for design professionals to initiate and nurture projects from inception as almost invariably the original designers will be preclude as the established competition processes are highly restrictive.
This effectively ‘locks out’ many of those who would be particularly well placed to support ‘bottom up’ endeavours, whether for example through the engagement of design professionals with their communities or by creating imaginative and valuable design ideas contributing to the city’s wider needs, vitality and wellbeing.”
The proposals tabled would “..allow all to benefit from the positive and creative endeavours of those developing built environment ideas for public good.
“London has many challenges and it is clear that we need to find a way that will encourage design professionals to come forward with ideas and to engage with communities in order to meet these challenges, and for client bodies to know they can access those ideas and benefit from the knowledge and work already carried out.”
Public Interest Challenge & Garden Bridge Oversight. Transcribed below is a letter submitted by Project Compass to the GLA Oversight Committee calling upon them to consider better regulatory policing by means of a Public Interest Challenge for framework procurements, in specified circumstances.
“Dear Len Duvall,
Further to the recent GLA Oversight Committee mtg. of 11 October ‘17 where you called for exploration of future procedural improvements in TfL and the authorities procurement, on behalf of Project Compass CIC I am writing enclosing a proposal for your committees consideration and recommendations forward, along with a supplementary informative.
- Under the Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015 challenge of unprofessional procurement practice is available to those bidding who are defined within strict limitations as ‘economic operators’ and such challenge may only be within a constrained timescale.
For commercial reasons this can be particularly problematic for private firms, especially when they may seek further work from the awarding authority and that authority has a large and/or dominant market position. In effect they are captured. Pragmatically this conflicts commercial firms, and can in the case of the Garden Bridge procurement and other case study evidence we have researched lead to unprofessional procurement outcomes lacking transparency.
We would propose in future, within the standing orders and governance of a TfL or London wide remit, or by the national provision of a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) or in the longer term by reform of PCR 2015, that consideration might be given to the provision of a Public Interest Challenge, when poor procurement practices become publically apparent.
In this way a higher bar of accountability could contribute towards improving transparency and further professionalising practices to provide better, more effective and efficient procurement. This could address those aspects of the apparent conflicts in the existing procurement regulations.
Our thoughts on how the principle of allowing a public interest challenge might be embodied are set out below……(Letter Items 2 & 3 redacted here)
…. I trust the enclose maybe of value in informing best practice forward.
PUBLIC INTEREST CHALLENGE PROPOSAL – NOTES:
It is the definition below which largely appear to preclude a ‘Public Interest Challenge’
PCR 2015 Clause 2(1) Definitions:
“economic operator” means any person or public entity or group of such persons and entities, including any temporary association of undertakings, which offers the execution of works or a work, the supply of products or the provision of services on the market;
PCR 2015 Chapter 6:
In regulations 89 and 90, “economic operator” has its usual meaning (in accordance with regulation 2(1)), but in the other provisions of this Part “economic operator” has the narrower meaning of an economic operator (as defined by regulation 2(1)) to which a duty is owed in accordance with regulation 89 or 90
Clause descriptions/definitions however might possibly be clarified by means of a Procurement Policy Note, or within the local GLA or TfL remit by governance/standing orders or ordinances are set out below:
Proposal: ‘an economic operator which, in consequence suffers or risks suffering, loss or damage’ shall mean the public or their representatives.
Clause 92 (4) & (5) Discretionary extension of the time limit for actioning proceedings.
Proposal: The court shall be required to consider the timescale in which the public or their representatives might reasonably have become conscionably aware.
Clause 93 (5) (b) a summary of the relevant reasons
Proposal: ‘relevant reasons’ shall mean reasons that are evidentially substantial and relevant to the notified award criteria assessed in accordance with these regulations.
Proposal: The definition shall have the same meaning as that proposed in clause 91(1) (above)
The key principle being to allow the possibility of a public interest challenge!”