After a prolonged period of consultation and market analysis, it is great to see the Orbis Partnership framework is now moving forward.
Orbis Partnership is a procurement vehicle for Surrey County Council and East Sussex County Council, both of whom have existing construction consultancy frameworks which have recently expired or are about to expire.
What's interesting to me is that despite the wealth of existing frameworks that could be used, saving a circa £1m in procurement costs and 9 months in time, the councils have decided to run their own exercise. With Scape, NHS SBS, Pagabo, ESPO, Places 4 People, the MOJ and many others already providing framework offerings which the councils could use, the business plan for creating their own framework, rather than using someone else's, will be an interesting one to read.
With the bidders day on Friday 23rd September limited to one place per company, they're obviously expecting a large amount of interest. I hope they don't end up in a similar situation to other councils however, where a multi-lot, multi-supplier arrangement means they're managing 50-100 companies, with limited opportunity for bringing together lessons learnt and sharing innovation.
Only time will tell!
The two councils, which are now are working together through an initiative called the Orbis Partnership, are planning to hold a bidders day to outline plans for a new joint framework to deliver a £500m capital programme over the next four years. To help deliver this they are setting up new separate professional services and construction frameworks. Selected firms will principally be used to deliver an ambitious school expansion programme as well as other public building works.