Features - Business

Gold standard set for public sector

The Cabinet Office has published an independent review looking at putting in place a new ‘Gold Standard’ for public sector construction frameworks.

The review, which is a result of a consultation on ‘The Construction Playbook’, will ensure the best possible outcomes for public sector developments, including roads, rail projects, schools, hospitals and prisons.

The standard sets out several priorities, ensuring the government and the construction industry works together to tackle some of the major issues in project development, such as waste, value for money and driving innovation to achieve better, faster, safer and greener outcomes.

Cabinet Office Minister, Lord Agnew, said: “The new Gold Standard will make sure that vital public sector developments have rigorous measures in place to make sure public money is spent well and that projects are delivered successfully.

“This will be welcomed across the public sector, the construction industry and by the public, who have a right to expect the best possible public sector projects.”

The review is a result of a consultation of the Construction Playbook, which was launched by the Cabinet Office in 2020 with the aim of making sure the public sector and construction industry work together better to deliver key infrastructure projects.

The Playbook calls for various changes which would see the supply chain engaged at earlier stages of a project, as well as a continued push to include SMEs within the supply chain.

Implementation of the Gold Standard will add value to contracts by identifying SME strengths and use Supply Chain Collaboration systems to maximise social value.

To capture improved value from the contributions of SMEs, the review encourages ‘Supply Chain Collaboration’ to create supplier led alliances with supply chains that include local and regional businesses.

The review also advises authorities to ensure frameworks include social value objectives in shared action plans, including improved employment, skills and environmental sustainability and the combatting of Modern Slavery.

In order to drive consistency across major government projects, the review advises early supply chain involvement (ESI), using Supply Chain Collaboration systems in all framework contracts.

The move will help to support the whole supply chain, meaning major schemes do not fall behind and small businesses have a greater chance of securing government business.

These 24 recommendations made in the Gold Standard will help guarantee projects have improved efficiency and innovation, increased safety standards, a focus on net zero carbon and social value targets.

Professor Mosey said: “The effectiveness of construction frameworks is hampered by duplication, inconsistency and adversarial practices, wasting large amounts of money and impeding essential progress.

“The new ‘Gold Standard’ for frameworks and framework contracts drives the strategic actions that will improve value and safety, manage risks, meet Net Zero Carbon targets and support a profitable construction industry’.”

The publication can be read here.

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