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  • You are here:HS2

HS2 to rerun consultants framework after conflicts found

HS2 is to rerun procurement for a £9m consultants’ framework after potential conflicts of interests emerged.

The client confirmed that it would be retendering the £9m commercial services management framework after it emerged bidders Arcadis and Mott MacDonald would be “conflicted” if chosen for the work.

HS2 said the reason behind the decision was due to the scope of the contract changing and the revised scope conflicting with current work being carried out by the firms and their ability to bid for future contracts.

The rerunning of bidding for the contract is the latest procurement mishap after CH2M withdrew last month over allegations of potential conflicts of interest.

The HS2 spokesman told Construction News that the rerunning of the £9m framework was totally unconnected to the phase 2b development partner contract.

Procurement for the framework began last year with firms including Arcadis, Gleeds, Mott MacDonald and Turner & Townsend all bidding for the framework to provide support for HS2’s commercial team.

Arcadis was ranked the highest-scoring bidder for the framework’s first package, with Mott MacDonald ranked second and Turner & Townsend ranked third when procurement concluded last month.

After reviewing the decision, HS2 found that picking Arcadis or Mott MacDonald could potentially conflict with packages of work they were currently carrying out on the project.

HS2 also said that winning the contracts could also bar them from bidding for future work due to potential conflicts of interest. 

The two companies are also design partners for two of the HS2 contractors bidding for the phase one civils packages, with Mott MacDonald teaming up with Balfour Beatty / Vinci JV and Arcadis understood to be partnering with the Carillion / Effiage / Kier team.

A JV between Mott MacDonald and WSP secured a contract for the civils design and environmental services on phase two of the line.

As a result of these conflicts, third-placed Turner & Townsend was automatically in line for the job, but HS2 decided that it could not justify handing the work to the third-placed bidder in terms of value for money.

A HS2 spokesman said: “Since we started the procurement process we have reviewed the scope of requirements in relation to the contract and decided that it no longer meets our needs.

“To ensure we are getting the best value for the taxpayer, we are reworking the scope of the tender and will restart the process shortly.”

The client confirmed that it was now redrawing the scope of the contract and would look relaunch the tender within the next month.

The news comes as Construction News reported today that transport secretary Chris Grayling was expected to be hauled before the transport select committee over the controversy around the project’s tendering process for the phase 2b development partner contract.

CH2M withdrew its interest from last week less than two months after being chosen to carry out the work after allegations surfaced around a potential conflict of interest.

Mace, one of the losing bidders for the phase 2b development contract, is understood to still be considering a legal challenge over the way the procurement process for the contract was run.

Rival bidder Bechtel has been tipped to be awarded the contract. HS2 has said it will not re-run the bid process.

A HS2 spokesman said none of the other procurement timelines would be affected by the phase 2b or commercial services managent framework delays.

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