A CITY council in the north-east which came under fire after asking contractors to tell it how to procure work has chosen 21 teams to bid for work worth up to £420 million over the next seven years.
Newcastle City Council was accused of being lazy after contractors were told to do all the development work themselves.
One fumed: 'It wants us to do the work it should have done before it advertised the deal.'
But this week the council's head of design services, Richard Wise, defended its decision. He said: 'We think this is the first time a council has put out a contract where the contractors and consultants have been able to talk to us from the beginning.'
The council is hoping to team up with firms under a long-term construction partnering contract to help it meet targets set under Rethinking Construction.
A mixed array of major and local contractors, consultants and architects is now in discussions over how the work will be awarded.
The council may decide to work with a single contractor and consultant or with a selection of the firms. It is possible that one firm could take over the council's entire consultancy and construction works programme.
The contract will be awarded by September. Work under the partnership must start by April 2004.
Frank Haslam Milan
Lumsden & Carroll
Turner & Townsend
Waring & Netts