08 February 2008 | Jake Kanter
The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme could save £250 million and expedite the process, according to a preliminary review.
The programme plans to rebuild and refurbish 3,500 schools across England by 2020, but is already falling behind target. A total of 350 schools should have been completed by 2008, but the government now expects only 12 to be finished by the end of the year.
The review was carried out among BSF stakeholders such as local authorities, contractors and industry groups, and will be considered by ministers in March.
Recommendations from the review include the introduction of pre-qualification for bidding consortia and earlier bidder selection. In addition, there would be increased focus on building partnerships with suppliers, while the amount of time and money invested into the design process would be reduced.
Tim Byles, chief executive of Partnerships for Schools, the organisation responsible for delivering the BSF project, said in a statement: "The Procurement Review has enabled us to reflect on experiences to date and, importantly, to use the views and expertise of those engaged in BSF nationwide as springboard for these new proposals. It is widely accepted that delivery of the BSF programme has picked up pace considerably over the past year."