HS2 has moved to avoid another conflict-of-interest scandal by replacing CH2M staff in “key decision-making roles” on contracts held by Jacobs, following the merger between the two firms.
The client revealed it had blocked CH2M staff working for HS2 from taking any part in the procurement of future contracts where Jacobs was involved.
It has also replaced CH2M decision-makers with HS2 staff “where necessary” on Jacobs’ existing contracts.
HS2 said it had set up a special conflict-of-interest panel to futureproof the relationship between Jacobs and CH2M and ensure any actual or perceived conflicts were properly managed in the future.
The changes come in response to the $2.47bn acquisition of CH2M by Jacobs, which was completed last month.
CH2M is currently working in a joint venture with Atkins and Sener as engineering delivery partner for phase one of the £55.7bn line.
However, Jacobs has been shortlisted for three of the four stations serving phase one of the line, and is also a design partner on the £965m Chiltern Tunnel and Colne Viaduct phase one civils package.
Last year, HS2 was embroiled in a conflict-of-interest scandal surrounding the procurement of the £170m phase two delivery partner deal, which ultimately led to CH2M withdrawing from the contract.
An HS2 spokesman said that it had been aware of potential conflict of interests resulting from the merger between CH2M and Jacobs, and that steps had been taken to ensure appropriate controls were in place.
He said: “These steps include ensuring employees of CH2M working with HS2 have not been permitted to take part in any procurement process involving Jacobs in future contract opportunities.
“In existing contracts, where necessary, CH2M employees have been replaced in key decision-making roles with HS2 Ltd employees.”
Construction News has contacted CH2M and Jacobs for comment.