Now it’s official: public sector construction frameworks really are a waste of money
20th January 2022 | Ian Anfield
Surprise, surprise. An independent review of public sector construction frameworks has uncovered evidence of shocking waste, confusion and too much focus on achieving the lowest price, rather than best value. The report for the Cabinet Office reiterates what our clients have been saying for years about these flawed procurement systems.
The effectiveness of construction frameworks is hampered by duplication, inconsistency and adversarial practices, wasting large amounts of money and impeding essential progress
...said Professor David Mosey, the academic who led the review. He put forward 24 recommendations to supposedly guarantee improved efficiency and innovation, increased safety standards, a focus on net zero carbon and social value targets.
In our opinion, the basic problem with frameworks is that long established, highly skilled specialist construction firms are having their ability to do a job assessed by someone with precisely zero industry experience. It’s more about the ability to present yourself on paper through a convoluted questionnaire than the ability to deliver on site or what you actually give back to the local community in jobs, skills and spend in the local economy.
We are seeing a never-ending move towards bigger and bigger frameworks. The Mosey review revealed there are currently 2,000 active public sector construction frameworks. Despite the upfront cost associated with bidding, many large contractors love them because they have the nous to make big margins on the work. But smaller firms find the risks of fixed-price jobs can be too great with rising material and labour costs.
Hudson Contract has been campaigning for years to reform public sector procurement. We want local authorities to take a common-sense approach to building work and repairs by hiring small and medium-sized local firms to get the work done. It would be better for the local economy, the local community and the local environment, as well as boosting productivity, employment and accountability.