Infrastructure plan says ''wasteful procurement'' increases costs

27 October 2010
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27 October 2010 | Lindsay Clark

The UK government will take a “smarter approach” to the procurement of major infrastructure to improve value for money, according to a policy document.

As Prime Minister David Cameron launched the National Infrastructure Plan 2010, and committed to a £200 billion investment programme, the Treasury document found procurement processes on large projects wanting.

“For several decades the UK’s approach to infrastructure investment has in general been timid, uncoordinated, incremental, wasteful in its procurement and insufficiently targeted to supporting balanced and sustainable growth in the economy, both economically and environmentally,” it said. “The result is that our infrastructure is ageing, plans are unclear and costs are too high.”

The plan commits the government to a “smarter approach to the procurement of major infrastructure which will deliver the maximum value for money for the taxpayer“.

It said: “Future procurements will be underpinned by market intelligence, transparency and mature supply chain relationships.”

Progress on the plan will be supported by Infrastructure UK, a joint public-private advisory group sitting within the Treasury. James Stewart, its chief executive, said it was considering involvement of contractors earlier in project planning to improve the procurement process.

In his speech to the Confederation of British Industry on Monday, Cameron also said the government would be “insisting that a far greater proportion of government procurement budgets are spent with small and medium-sized firms“.

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