A press statement by Douglas Kell, secretary of Construction Alliance Northeast, states that “Once again, public sector procurement is still weighted in favour of the national contractors".
The broad sweeping statement was issued in response to the new £5.5Bn Scape construction framework, which will be procured this year.
SME opportunities and involvement in major frameworks is always a contentious issue. On one hand, clients must not limit opportunities or create barriers to entry into the market, but similarly, they must respect the needs and wishes of those they procure the framework for.
Scape appear to have done that. Through market testing, client discussion and research into successful and... well... many not so successful regional and client frameworks, they've devised a model that suits the needs of those who'll use the framework.
And ultimately... isn't it the framework users who should dictate the structure of any agreement, not the bidders?
“SMEs can collaborate and bid as in a joint venture or consortia arrangement, ensuring that an organisation of an appropriate scale, skill and scope is appointed to deliver the volume of projects facilitated by this framework – a point which will be emphasised in our upcoming framework market awareness sessions.