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Scape calls for procurement shake-up to unlock £14bn

Procurement specialist Scape Group has called for the government to radically reform its “patchy” procurement strategy to unlock £14bn for local communities.

The group’s Better Procurement report urged the government to ensure public sector contracts valued at £10m or more produced at least 20 per cent of that figure in social value to the community.

Examples of social value benefits include creating apprenticeships, employing local labour and opening up construction sites to schools and colleges.

According to the report, £72bn was spent on public sector contracts worth more than £10m in 2016/17.

If a 20 per cent minimum social value requirement was placed on these contracts, the report stated a potential £14.4bn could be unlocked for regional supply chains.

Speaking to Construction News, Scape Group chief executive Mark Robinson said public sector procurement on the whole had been patchy.

“There’s been pockets of really good practice and there have been parts where it’s failed miserably,” he said. “There is an issue around good-quality procurement practice across government.”

He added: “Procurement is sometimes almost an afterthought… but procurement should be right of the forefront of thinking.”

The report made three other recommendations to improve procurement.

These included:

  • A new award to be given to public sector suppliers as a mark of good-quality work
  • A government-led best practice guide for public sector procurement
  • Further streamlining and standardisation of procurement processes and tendering requirements

Mr Robinson told Construction News in March that the Scape Group “would love to do a housing framework” in the future.

He said this week there had been discussions around the possibility of setting up this framework, adding: “We’ll see what happens.”

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