Review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement in Construction

The ‘Review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement in Construction’ was recently published by the Scottish Government and follows on from its proposals to address the procurement process as a whole in its Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill.

14th November 2013

The ‘Review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement in Construction’ was recently published by the Scottish Government and follows on from its proposals to address the procurement process as a whole in its Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill.

The Report recommends a Chief Construction Adviser is appointed from the start of the 2014-15 financial year and suggests that this individual should have expertise in construction and procurement.  The Chief Construction Adviser would be tasked with challenging the public and private sector alike on the implementation of the Report and, to assist carrying out this function, he or she should have direct access to Ministers.    

To give the construction industry greater visibility of future projects each public body should annually publish a rolling pipeline of anticipated construction spend.  These pipelines would be held centrally meaning there would be a ‘one stop shop’ for industry to access information on upcoming projects thus helping organisations to more effectively allocate resources.

It is also suggested public bodies could regionally co-ordinate infrastructure spend to facilitate a more coherent prioritisation of infrastructure spend. Reference is made to the Scottish Government’s hub initiative as an example of public sector collaboration to increase efficiencies in procurement.  The Report also acknowledges that the Scottish Cities Alliance is exploring how cities and regions can more effectively pool resources.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become an increasingly talked about topic in the construction industry, and the Report specifically considers its use within the public sector.  It is proposed that a BIM level 2 approach is adopted, where appropriate, on all public sector construction projects by April 2017.  

Support mechanisms to help SME’s bid for public sector contracts should be put in place.  Where framework agreements are used, it claims public bodies need to do more to ensure to SMEs have an opportunity to bid for work.

The authors of the Report, Robin Crawford and Ken Lewandowski, made an early recommendation on the use of project bank accounts which was accepted by the Scottish Government in April 2013.  A project bank account is a ring fenced account from which payments are simultaneously made by a client to members of the supply chain.  The main drivers for introducing such accounts are to increase cash flow in the supply chain and remove the ability of contractors to delay making payments to the supply chain.   

The question for the construction industry now will be which of the recommendations the Scottish Government decides should be taken forward and implemented.

To review the full publication please click on the following link: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0043/00436662.pdf