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Byles renews pledge to speed up BSF procurement

Partnerships for Schools chief executive Tim Byles has renewed his efforts to drive down the procurement time for Building Schools for the Future contracts.

He used a speech at the PfS annual conference yesterday to restate his plans to speed up the bidding process for major schools projects.

Mr Byles told Construction News in May that he wanted to see the 75-week average from OJEU to financial close reduced to less than 52 weeks.

And he said yesterday: “We have already made significant inroads into streamlining what is a complex process. But I want to go further and, working with both the private sector and local government, I hope that we will be able to reduce the procurement time even more so that schools and communities can benefit from this investment as soon as possible.”

From 1 October, PfS will be responsible for delivering all schools capital investment, taking on the Primary Capital Programme, the Devolved Formula Capital scheme and the Targeted Capital Programmes.

This will be on top of its existing work managing the £55 billion BSF scheme and the hotly contested academies frameworks.

PfS titled its conference Having One Conversation to reflect the simplified system.

Mr Byles added: “For local government, having one conversation will mean a more strategic discussion about the particular challenges that they are dealing with, and how investment can be used to tackle those challenges. This is about balancing local needs and priorities with national ones.

“And for the private sector too, bringing the delivery of these programmes together will mean that they have a single conversation with one organisation about what they can bring to the table.

“It also means that we will be able to take a look at how we can standardise our process and protocols across the whole investment landscape to ensure we get the best value from every single education pound.”