Contractors are expecting another huge battle for Government work after the Department of Health invited bids for places on the £4 billion ProCure 21+ framework.
The DoH issued an OJEU notice over the weekend for the six-year health capital investment framework, through which it expects to spend up to £750 million per year.
It is understood that 15 contractors will be shortlisted for the framework, with a maximum of 12 selected for places on it.
Scores of firms are expected to fill in pre-qualification questionnaires for the framework as the industry scraps for public sector work during the recession.
The huge appetite for public sector frameworks was highlighted when 57 firms filled out PQQs for the £4bn academies framework earlier this year. A total of 22 have been shortlisted and are fighting tooth and nail to get on the final list.
Just eight contractors are on the existing ProCure 21 framework, which will be replaced by ProCure 21+ in September 2010.
Balfour Beatty Scottish and Southern managing director Bob Clark said: “I anticipate ProCure 21+ will be hugely competitive. We could see many companies bidding, just like with the recent academies framework.
“It is very important for companies to get on these frameworks as it may be a couple of years before new private work starts coming on stream – and the ProCure 21+ framework will last until 2015.”
ProCure 21+ will differ from its predecessor in several ways as the Government looks to react to the changing nature of healthcare provision.
According to the DoH, the new framework will:
- Place greater emphasis on the assurance of the build standards, and the sustainability of outcomes
- Meet the requirements of the new and changing NHS landscape
- Enhance the framework management to improve the quality of delivery
A spokesman added: “The ProCure21+ framework builds on the successes of the ProCure21 framework, while recognising that the criteria laid out in 2003 do not reflect the current requirements in health construction.”
Kier director Paul Sheffield said: “We are on the current framework and believe it has delivered real value to the NHS over the last four years in terms of projects delivered on time and to budget.
“This is largely due to the close and professional relationship that develops between the trust, the contractor and the consultants.”
The deadline for expressions of interest in the new framework is midday on 9 July 2009. PQQs will then be issued to interested parties, and will need to be returned by mid-September.
A shortlist will be released in the autumn, but final appointments are not expected until spring 2010.