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Contractors flock to ProCure 21+ despite questions over its value

More than 50 contractors this week received pre-qualification questionnaires for places on the £4 billion ProCure 21+ framework.

The high level of interestc in the six-year health capital investment framework puts it on a par with the academies ‘super-framework’ that went to tender earlier this year.

It is even more noteworthy as contractors were given little over a month to register their interest in the work, and the NHS admitted some trusts were looking to sidestep the framework to secure cheaper bids.

The interested contractors now have until Wednesday 16 September to complete and return their PQQs. A maximum of 15 will be shortlisted in October, with 12 finally selected to be on the framework.

A Department of Health spokesman told Construction News this week: “The response to the ProCure21+ OJEU tender has been very positive, with over 50 expressions of interest registered.

“The PQQ was issued to the candidates on 3 August, and seeks to evaluate candidates’ understanding of ProCure21+ requirements and their applicable experience.”

Just eight contractors are on the existing ProCure 21 framework, which will be replaced by ProCure 21+ in September 2010.

They are: Balfour Beatty; Costain; Bam Construct; Sir Robert McAlpine with Vinci; Interserve; Kier; Laing O’Rourke; and Medicinq led by Midas. It is likely all expressed an interest in the new framework.

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

The huge appetite for public sector frameworks was highlighted earlier this year when 57 firms filled out PQQs for the £4bn academies framework. A total of 22 have been shortlisted and are battling hard to get on the final list.

With private sector work hard to come by, contractors are clearly similarly lured by the opportunity to enter a closed battle for up to £750m of health work per year.

ProCure 21+ programme manager Ray Stephenson admitted in July that some trusts were looking to tender work individually during the recession. But he insisted he was winning the battle to persuade them to stick with frameworks.

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