Companies with a track record of poor scheme delivery could be blocked from winning work on Government funded transport infrastructure projects under new procurement rules which were confirmed last week.
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Government promises to introduce “simpler, clearer and more flexible” rules giving it greater discretion to exclude badly performing firms such as those that have not completed previous projects on budget or on time.
It will also be possible for public contracting authorities to ban suppliers which have undertaken unethical practices, such as a lax approach to safety, or where there are national security or environmental concerns.
This marks a significant change to the current procurement rules whereby suppliers can only be excluded from winning Government contracts in cases where there has been a significant breach of contract.
The move is part of a package of procurement changes and follows the introduction of new rules earlier this year which require firms bidding for Government contracts worth more than £5M a year to commit to achieving net zero by 2050 and publish a carbon reduction plan.
Further measures set to be taken forward include a consolidation of public procurement procedures available to contracting authorities down to just three options. In addition Government says contracts will be awarded to the ‘most advantageous tender’ rather than the ‘most economically advantageous tender’ to place increased focus on social value outcomes.
Cabinet Office Minister Lord Frost said the procurement reforms “will open up new opportunities for our small businesses to win public contracts, boost efficiency and competition, and deliver better results for UK taxpayers”.
Government says it is not yet possible to confirm when the new procurement regime will come into force but, given timescales around the legislative process, this is unlikely to be until 2023 at the earliest.
(Photograph: Filipe Samora - Shutterstock)
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