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September 2011 | Adam Leach
the supply chain at an early stage is “at the heart of what is required” to
improve UK infrastructure projects.
carried out by the Department forBusiness, Innovation & Skills (BIS) found that
earlier engagement between the private sector contractors, suppliers and public
sector clients - by outlining future plans and setting up cross-sector working
groups - is needed to improve the process for carrying out infrastructure
projects in the UK.
Infrastructureand supply chains: barriers and opportunities,
published this week, concluded: “The emphasis on transparency and certainty as
well as whole life outcomes and earlier supply chain involvement go to the
heart of what is required.”
report - which make recommendations for improvements to current policy, but
does not have to be taken on board by the government - highlighted a number of problems
with current strategy. Describing current contracts as “short-term”, it called
for government to inform companies of the long-term plans and use more outcome-based
order to stimulate innovation, it cited the need for greater expertise in
procuring organisations and to change the low-risk culture so that more
innovative solutions could be identified when available.
report said: “Even where there is expertise, procuring organisations will tend
to opt for the low risk option, thereby choosing existing suppliers and
hindering the emergence of more innovative ideas.”
issues raised in the report included:
• Private sector identified the need for the Green Investment Bank, which
will provide public sector investment in sustainable business and technology,
to be established immediately to motivate investment in more innovative
technologies. Currently it won’t be fully implemented
• Suppliers in the rail industry called better demand management and less
red tape in the purchase of rolling stock.
in July, Cabinet Office minister Francis
Maude stressed the need for public sector buyers to make themselves aware of
the innovative solutions
offered by small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
at the Innovation Launch Pad event, which put SMEs in front of public
purchasers, he said: “We as buyers need to be up-to-speed with the innovative
solutions out there. There’s been good progress so far but not enough.”