Industry body Constructing Excellence and King’s College London have launched an independent voluntary verification scheme for construction-procurement quality.
The Constructing the Gold Standard verification scheme will check claims made by framework providers and clients who procure their own frameworks and alliances, with an emphasis on better value and net zero.
Professor David Mosey of King’s College London’s Centre of Construction Law & Dispute Resolution, said: “In order for public sector construction to make best use of limited funds, to deliver safe and high-quality outcomes and to tackle the climate crisis, all clients and supply chain members should adopt the Gold Standard recommendations.”
The scheme will track how procurement bodies follow the 24 recommendations made in the 2021 Constructing the Gold Standard report. These include recommendations to prioritise safety and net-zero carbon, improve value and offer sustainable pipelines of work within frameworks.
The report was the result of an independent review, commissioned by the Cabinet Office in 2021 and led by Mosey. The Gold Standard was endorsed in the September 2022 update of the government’s Construction Playbook.
Mosey examined public-sector construction frameworks worth a combined £180bn and consulted 120 organisations. The analysis found evidence that clients were prioritising the lowest price over best value, as well as evidence of waste, confusion and duplication in procurement processes.
Constructing Excellence has also established a task group, which will review all submissions to the verification scheme. The team includes representatives from clients, government bodies, law firms and academia. There will also be independent verifiers who recommend verification to the task group.
Seven clients have signed up to the pilot scheme: Ministry of Justice, Environment Agency, public sector procurement agency Scape, the Communities & Housing Investment Consortium, LHC, Places for People and the Crown Commercial Service.
The move follows the passage of the Procurement Bill into law on 27 October following royal assent. The new rules prioritise value for money and risk avoidance in a regime which is due to come into force in October 2024. The law also aims to support small and medium-sized business in winning more public contracts.
Alison Nicholl, head of Constructing Excellence, said her organisation has been a longtime advocate “for better procurement as an enabler of better outcomes”.
She added: “We are delighted to be working with Professor Mosey on supporting the implementation of the Gold Standard and helping drive continuous improvements in construction frameworks.”