This week, our chief executive Simon Toplass led two sessions at the fourth National Frameworks and Procurement Conference, hosted by Built Environment Networking.
Simon chaired the first session of the day, joined by Liz Clutterbrook, service delivery lead at Oxfordshire County Council, Phillippa Lean, framework manager at ISG, and Ian Plant, director at Faithful+Gould to discuss the future of frameworks.
The message on the day was loud and clear – the future of procurement holds a whole host of possibilities, and it is up to providers like us to make sure that we continue to adapt and provide the best services possible for clients, consultants, and contractors alike.
Simon said: “It’s quite rare to be able to get a framework provider, client, consultant and contractor in the same session, so it was a really great and well-rounded discussion – and we were all really pleased to see such good engagement and comments from the attendees as well.
“It was great to hear the various viewpoints on the number of frameworks available on the market – from national offerings like our own down to local ones. It was clear from the panel that there cannot be a one size fits all approach to frameworks for a number of reasons – such as contractors and consultants looking to work across a number of frameworks to develop relationships with particular clients or to align with their own company values. This is a sentiment shared by the attendees too, with 81 per cent saying no and 17 per cent saying probably not when asked if one size does fit all when it comes to frameworks.
“Liz also added a very valid point from the client perspective that the type of contract can also be the driving force behind choosing a framework provider for a project, so it’s really important that providers do have the in-house expertise to adapt to clients’ needs.”
The government’s recent Construction Playbook and Transforming Public Procurement green paper were also at the forefront of everyone’s minds. The panel discussed a number of elements of the green paper proposals, including how the suggested ‘open’ frameworks could work and benefit the sector, and how competitive costing is not about a race to the bottom.
Simon said: “It’s very clear from all sides that while the lowest cost available won’t always mean lower quality work, best value is not simply a matter of cost. It’s about the skills and experience and reputation an organisation has, opportunity to innovate – and of course the social return on investment on a local basis that is so important to communities. In fact, 53 per cent of attendees expressed in the polls that the skills and experience of the team is the most important thing to them in a framework.
“The speakers also raised some very valid points on the need for standardised reporting on performance in the industry to have better clarity of performance on completed projects – something that we strongly believe in at Pagabo, driving towards gold standard practices.”
The key takeaway from all parties in the session was the need for the whole industry to engage with the government’s green paper to make sure that our views are taken into account, so that any new legislation that is introduced around procurement makes things better for everyone involved.
Later in the day, Simon also presented a session on our approach to procurement, and what the industry can expect to see from us over the next year or so. This included our pipeline of new frameworks, more details about our recently launched developer-led framework, and our work to create The Future of Construction.
Simon said: “In just the last three months, our business has turned seven years old, delivered more than 1,000 successful projects to date and hit a number of key milestones – the generation of £3 billion in social value to date, and the reinvestment of £2 million back into good causes in the public sector. It’s really great to be able to share the work we are doing on a national platform, and to engage with the industry on our initiatives so that we can continue to take on feedback and new ideas to develop them further.
“We’ve got lots of things coming to the forefront this year, particularly from our partnership with Moodbeam to improve occupational wellbeing within the sector. The Future of Construction will also see us engaging with the wider industry on a number of key themes, including innovation and the journey to net zero carbon.”
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