Results from the survey to discover if SMEs found the widely adopted Framework Agreement a simple and rewarding process for winning new business from government are now reported below and available HERE.
The survey has been run on behalf of the Frameworks Working Group, a part of the independent SME Advisory Panel advising on central government procurement and targeted key small businesses (& not just construction professionals) providing a wide range of niche products and services to departments across Whitehall.
The results from more than 200 responses are clear.
Framework agreements are often disliked by SMEs who feel that they are written in complex language, have expensive and time consuming tender processes, are inflexible and favour large companies over smaller ones.
Crown Commercial Service are studying the report’s findings and have pointed to several new and ongoing actions government is taking to level the playing field for small businesses including:
considering where different kinds of procurement vehicle, including Dynamic Purchasing Systems, are suitable delivery models. Crown Commercial Service itself has launched three DPSs in the last 12 months, with five more being developed. We also know of a number of these flexible systems across other government departments;
simplifying public procurement with the new, plain English ‘Public Sector Contract’ – removing duplication from the application process for suppliers;
consulting on proposals to exclude suppliers from major government procurements if they cannot demonstrate fair, reliable and effective payment practices with their subcontractors;
requiring suppliers to advertise subcontracting opportunities via the Contracts Finder website and to provide the government with data showing how businesses in their supply chain, including small businesses, are benefiting from supplying to central government.
In N. Ireland methodologies on the procurement of design, where lowest price is no longer the determining factor have now been agreed between the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD), the RSUA & the construction sector (announced Sept. 2018). This halts the race to the bottom.
Under the pilot all construction services contracts to be awarded by CPD, both above and below the EU threshold, will be awarded in one of the following ways:
Projects with no quality assessment at tender stage will be awarded based on the Mean Narrow Average calculation;
Projects with a quality and price assessment at tender stage will base the price score on the Mean Narrow Average calculation; or
Projects with a fixed fee tender will be awarded on the assessment of quality only.
The first CPD procurement using the Mean Narrow Average is currently at prequalification stage.
Mean Narrow Average
In a move to ensure value, the fundamental shift is that the best price will no longer be the lowest price but the price that is closest to an average. The average that will be used is a ‘narrow average’. The lowest price and highest price are not part of the calculation to establish the ‘narrow average’.
Full details of the Mean Narrow Average calculation are available here. Those interested in bidding for CPD projects are strongly advised to review this and ensure they fully understand it.
For all in construction, and design professionals in particular this is surely an extremely welcome and long overdue step.
But this is not the only one of the advances being made in the UK nations -N. Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all now also adoptedProject Bank Accounts although from different threshold values.
Isn’t it now time for England to advance, reform and follow suite?
If there is no Brexit deal significant questions need answering about how all UK public contracts covering services, works and supplies, will be published, accessed, completed and remain transparent for public clients and commerce. Government announced on 13 September 2018 that if there is no deal a new UK e-notification replacement system will be made available on 29 March 2019, and notices will be published there, rather than in ‘The Official Journal of the European Union’ (OJEU) published online via Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) . Continue reading “No Brexit deal – Accessing Procurement Notices”
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.
PLEASE NOTE: the deadline for submissions has now been extended to 23 March 2018.
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.
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.
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
Conference ‘Competition Culture in Europe’, group portrait. Sept. ’17; Photo: Eva Kasbergen
|Palazzo Widmann at the Venice Biennale, May 24, 2018|
Last week Architectuur Lokaal with Project Compass organised the first, two-day conference onCompetition Culture in Europein Amsterdam.The results of a comparative research study of 17 countries was presentedand extended with knowledge from other countries. The conference represents the start of a four-year project to improve the accessibility and transparency of competitions in Europe. The conference concluded with agreement being reached by representatives from over 25 countries to embark on the following programme over the next year.
To find an architect lamenting the erosion of the profession’s role within the construction process may elicit from many little more than crocodile tears, and to others, smack of a futile act of self-preservation when faced with challenging financial targets, shrinking capital budgets and the avoidance of risk. But whilst architects’ railing at the demotion of quality in favour of ‘certainty’ is hardly new, events of the last year have suddenly thrust our concerns into the spotlight.
It is still far too early to apportion culpability for the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in June, but it is possible that this may emerge as the latest, and most tragic, manifestation decreasing oversight that architects have been warning about for so long. At the very least, there is clear evidence that a lack of professional, independent scrutiny has resulted directly in catastrophic failures elsewhere which could — had circumstances been only very slightly different — have resulted in tragedies of their own.
Good riddance to the Garden Bridge: an eye-watering waste of public funds
Walter Menteth article originally published 11 May, 2017 in
With one swift blow, London Mayor Sadiq Khan confounded plans to construct a leafy walkway above the River Thames. By refusing to guarantee further public funds, the mayor leaves the Garden Bridge project with a funding gap of some £70m, and a countdown of just eight months until planning permission expires.
HUGE PROBLEMS WITH QUALITY IN UK CONSTRUCTION IS APPARENT. ACTION MUST FOLLOW.
(Walter Menteth article originally publish on LinkedIn pulse March 19, 2017)
Over recent months significant construction issues have been reported that highlight major deficiencies in UK procurement culture.
The Orchard Village Estate, Lakanal House in Southwark, The Edinburgh PFI schools programme, Catalyst Housings Portobello Squaredevelopment, Solomon’s Passage in Southwark, and Bovis’s recent £70m pay out to purchasers, are some recently reported examples.
The common thread between each one of these is poor scrutiny, lack of oversight and co-ordination, where responsibilities and the supervision for implementing qualitative judgements had become confused, or worse disdained or ignored. The quality of the construction works has ultimately suffered with disastrous consequences, none of which should have happened.