Categories: Thought Leadership
Last year, we led two sessions at Built Environment Networking’s National Frameworks and Procurement conference, from which the message was certainly clear – the future of procurement starts now. Falling two months after its publication, the Construction Playbook was front of mind, along with the Transforming the Public Procurement green paper.
Since then, this message has compounded and is now more important than ever.
Last week’s 2022 conference fell just after the publication of Professor David Mosey’s review of public sector frameworks, Constructing the Gold Standard.
The report was commissioned following the release of the Construction Playbook and having been a keypoint of discussion in the industry over the past month our executive chairman, Gerard Toplass, was invited to take part in a panel event alongside Professor Mosey.
Together, they were joined on the panel by Steve Beechey, group public sector director at Wates Construction; Adam Sanford, operations director at Southern Construction Framework; Sara Lawton, director at Rise Construction Framework; and Nicky Wright, supply chain manager at HS2 Ltd.
An overarching view of the panel was that while the government clearly has the ambition to transform public sector procurement, that alone will not be enough. Collaboration, engagement, along with stressing the importance of best practices being followed, managed and understood across the industry - from framework providers to clients alike - will be vital.
One key to not losing the momentum generated over the past year may be formal legislation.
Adam Sanford pointed out that we can have the best guidance, but until not delivering on key elements such as social value or net zero carbon has a negative monetary impact, these will remain as ‘nice to haves’.
Aside from potential legislation, it was clear that as the experts in our field, framework providers and managers must lead with our experience to keep momentum. Educating clients and contracting authorities on the key role they hold and providing them with the expertise and specific knowledge they need will push forward with the collaboration towards shared outcomes.
The conference also fell on the day that the government’s long-awaited levelling up whitepaper was set to be released in full, which naturally saw the panel reflecting on the initial information released. All panellists agreed that there are many layers to levelling up, and largely welcomed the details of the whitepaper that had been released at the point of discussion.
Localism was the hot topic naturally linked to the levelling up agenda, with particular focus on how frameworks could be consolidated.
Gerard also detailed the need to examine levelling up in skills as well. Making sure that the industry is ready and prepped for future challenges is a key part of our work at Pagabo, largely examined through our The Future of Construction initiative. With skills shortages and long courses, we are passionate about supporting innovation in the way training is delivered, making sure that we retain the best talent in the industry – securing them a life of careers through shorter, more targeted courses.
Framework consolidation was also discussed. With more than 2,000 frameworks on the market and more appearing every day, we must identify what consolidation means and would look like. In order to effectively consolidate, the key is in that understanding.
In our experience, localism is an important point for many clients who want to ensure use of local suppliers and SMEs who will truly understand the landscape local to a scheme and will feed into social return on investment. This is why we allocate our framework lots in the way we do, ensuring around two thirds of awards are for SMEs.
From there, we will be able to consider how to consolidate – for example, do we produce a consistent approach, or do with combine and reduce the number of frameworks available, or both?
Professor Mosey has dubbed 2022 ‘the year of the framework’, and it truly is time to push forward as a collective industry, voting with our feet to drive best practice, which will in turn filter through into the levelling up agenda.
As well as continuing to champion the gold standard in procurement and our approach to industry-wide collaboration to do things better to collectively do better things, we will be focusing on a number of key framework moments throughout the year.
Our managing director, Jason Stapley, was on hand at the conference this week to take to the stage and reveal these plans, covering both new launches and renewals.
Two of our construction frameworks are set for renewal. The Medium Works and Refit and Refurbishment frameworks are beginning that process and will move into their second iterations with healthy opportunity pipelines. Suppliers can now register their interest for both frameworks, with tender processes expected towards the end of 2022 and go live set for the beginning of 2023.
Meanwhile two of our newest frameworks are set to go live in the coming weeks. We will be announcing the awards and kick off of our civils and infrastructure framework this month, which will be closely followed by our demolition framework.
To register your interest for the Medium Works or Refit and Refurbishment frameworks, please click here.