INCOMPETENT contractors will be barred from bidding for government construction jobs worth £24 billion next year.
New Treasury guidelines launched last week mean procurement departments will have to ensure contractors meet basic quality standards.
Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson said the guidance will force government departments - which account for 40 per cent of all UK construction contracts - to deliver better value for taxpayers' money. He said: 'It is vital government departments play their part in ensuring higher quality and more efficient products when preparing contracts to deliver public sector construction contracts.'
Treasury officials said the advice was intended to help construction firms make the efficiency savings recommended by the Latham report. Departments such as the Ministry of Defence and Highways Agency have already made significant savings. But officials said other departments' performances were 'patchy'.
Mr Robinson warned: 'All departments must be clear about the standards they need to attain.'
The effectiveness of the procurement advice will be judged when results from a bench-marking project are published in June.
The guidelines provide details about:
core requirements for contractors to deliver what is needed;
how to achieve best value for money from construction procurement; and
how to appoint contractors on a quality and price basis, and not price alone.
Information from the construction taskforce, led by BAA chief executive Sir John Egan, will be included in two other advice documents to be published in the spring and summer.
Treasury officials said new contracts would be aimed at building long- term relationships. One said: 'We are interested in six- to eight- year contracts, rather than three to four years.'