Scottish public procurement process a 'lottery'

28 August 2012

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28 August 2012 | Anna Reynolds

Scottish construction firms are spending huge sums on unsuccessful public procurement bids, according to a survey by the Scottish Building Federation (SBF).

Construction industry bosses have described public tender processes as a “lottery” and are calling for radical reforms.

A survey by the SBF, to which 57 companies responded, found almost two thirds of small construction firms say they have opted out of public procurement entirely over the past three years because the costs are so high.

An average of more than three out of every four pre-qualification questionnaires completed by firms for public tenders failed to secure them a place on the tender shortlist. Overall, companies completing PQQs had only a one-in-36 chance of securing new work.

Commenting on the survey findings, SBF chief Executive Michael Levack said: "This latest survey shows what a lottery the current public procurement process has become. The root and branch reform of construction procurement the Scottish government has promised is clearly long overdue.

The Scottish Construction Monitor which measures general confidence within the industry, found more than two-thirds of all respondents are now less confident about the prospects for their business in the year ahead compared to the past 12 months.

Levack added: “With the industry now facing a second recession in the space of four years and confidence continuing to slide, Scottish ministers need to act immediately to streamline the procurement process and provide fairer and more cost-effective access to publicly funded building contracts for firms of all sizes."

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