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2022: the year of procurement evolution


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Mark Robinson, SCAPE’s group chief executive, considers the implications of a landmark year for procurement and the impact on contractors targeting public sector-backed civils contracts.

With the re-procurement of our civil engineering frameworks, 2022 is not only a year of opportunity for contractors working in the built environment, but also an opportunity for procurement to evolve.

Regenerative infrastructure projects are set to play a crucial role in creating stronger local economies in a post-pandemic world, and the industry continues to face challenges from labour supply to supply chain disruption which will affect the speed at which future projects can take off.

With all the change of the last two years, more transformation is yet to come as we see a new approach to the delivery of future projects, as well as new expectations for contractors and our delivery partners.

A Better Way

There are three key developments set to reshape public procurement across the UK:

1. All civils projects in 2022 must follow the principles of the Construction Playbook – the government’s blueprint for best practice. Together with sixteen of our delivery partners, we at SCAPE have been calling for further strengthening of these principles to mandate whole lifecycle carbon assessment to be mandatory for all new-build and retrofit projects commissioned by the public sector.

2. The findings of the independent Cabinet Office construction frameworks review conducted by David Mosey must be considered.

3. The Procurement Bill will appear before parliament this year, underlining the reforms to public procurement regulations.

Mark Quote Mosey review

Procurement must be in best-in-class and deliver strong social value and green credentials. SCAPE was consulted on how to define a new gold standard for public sector clients, framework providers and contractors, and welcome the findings of the Mosey review.

The review set out 24 recommendations, which will further shape the future of procurement. These include extensive support and accountability in relation to helping the public estate achieve net zero status, generating social value, stimulating innovation via modern methods of construction, minimising or eradicating waste, connecting supply chains and ensuring that they are treated fairly. Crucially, the Mosey review calls for contractually binding action plans around these objectives.

Active management of frameworks produces tangible outcomes, and at SCAPE we have in-built standards that ensure a constant focus on value in all its forms. Our direct award approach and local supply chain delivery enables every £1M spent on our frameworks to generate £300,000 of social value for the local community.

The Mosey review’s recommendations to set standards will not only raise the bar across the sector, but also drive further innovation among those already operating at or beyond them. 2022 is set to be the year in which these pockets of innovation can be adapted into business as usual. Should this become the norm, the infrastructure needs of the UK in the coming years will be delivered innovatively and effectively.

Our chosen delivery partners are already using technology, creativity and share a real commitment to improve the design, delivery and whole life cost performance of our national infrastructure.

Bidding for our next generation civil engineering framework is set to open in February 2022. Our existing frameworks, both secured by Balfour Beatty, have commissioned more than 250 projects and recently celebrated the completion of our 100th project to date for public sector clients, and are due to expire in January 2023.