Opinion

Want to work with government? Time to do your homework

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Suppliers who have government contracts in their sights need to check they’re up to date with significant changes to delivery strategy, says John Welch.

2021 was a year of intense activity in government as we continue to design the future of public infrastructure. 

In September, the government published the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline, forecasting a mammoth £650bn investment over the coming decade. Alongside, it also published its Transforming Infrastructure Performance: Roadmap to 2030 policy paper. This brings together a number of key government plans and strategies published over recent years, including The Construction Playbook. 

I was pleased to note that the Playbook again sits at the heart of delivery of this strategy – and that there is a recognition that its implementation will be essential for delivering on our plans around efficiency, capability, carbon net zero and social value.

To round off the year, Professor David Mosey’s Constructing the Gold Standard: An independent review of public sector construction frameworks was published in December. Professor Mosey challenged the government to deliver a streamlined infrastructure procurement landscape, capped by a new Gold Standard of framework.


Find out more

Use the interactive guide to The Construction Playbook at www.crowncommercial.gov.uk to find out how to implement the 14 key policies. If you’re interested in using any of the government’s construction frameworks, you must become an Alliance Member. Visit the website to learn more and register.


What does this mean for suppliers? Quite simply, the construction market needs to do its homework and make sure it’s ready to demonstrate how it is set up to deliver against these priorities.

Behaviour and leadership is key – suppliers have to want to be part of building back better, and public sector customers have to recognise where more innovative arrangements will bring benefits. 

Suppliers also need to consider the societal benefits they can bring to the table, demonstrating how they’ll deliver against carbon net zero targets, supporting social value and health and safety, and tackling modern slavery.

The next decade will see transformative changes to the UK’s infrastructure. With the right strategy, and in a spirit of collaboration between public sector partners, buyers and suppliers, we can help the country to build back better, greener and fairer.

John Welch is deputy director, construction, at the UK government’s Crown Commercial Service.

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