UK government to introduce common principles for infrastructure procurement to promote best practice

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
1 October 2014

The government has unveiled plans to improve public sector infrastructure procurement by introducing a set of common principles in early 2015.

In a report the Infrastructure Client Group (ICG) set out plans to establish best practice principles for construction and infrastructure procurement including “avoiding unnecessary expense and waste” and “improved client understanding of how to improve the procurement process”.

The ICG is a collaboration between government and industry clients to improve infrastructure delivery, established as part of the Infrastructure Cost Review.

The report said the aim was to “identify specific and deliverable measures to address ongoing industry concerns regarding the inconsistent adoption of best practice principles which support faster, smarter procurement and more effective risk allocation”.

The work will include establishing a “common government approach to improving construction and infrastructure procurement”, consultation on principles, launching a best practice guide and establishing “procurement common principles with KPI measures and targets” in the first quarter of 2015.

The report also includes projects to improve pipeline visibility and certainty, cost control and whole-life planning.

In July the Infrastructure Cost Review, established in 2010 and part of the National Infrastructure Plan, reported that it was delivering savings of £3.4 billion per annum.

A report said there was “no single overriding factor driving higher costs” but it identified contributing factors including stop-start investment, blurred governance structures, over-specification and the application of unnecessary standards and “inefficient and bureaucratic use of competition processes”.

Lord Deighton, commercial secretary to the Treasury, said: “The recently published Cost Review report set out the government’s plans for a renewed attack on the drivers of high costs and barriers to innovation. The Infrastructure Client Group’s work programme will be an essential instrument in continuing to support cost reduction and improved delivery.”

Andy Mitchell, CEO of the Thames Tideway Tunnel and newly-appointed chairman of the ICG, said: “The Infrastructure Client Group continues to provide a much-needed forum that brings together key infrastructure organisations with common objectives and plans to improve the way we deliver infrastructure.”

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