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Framework set to procure a brighter future for North West construction

Procure North West, a unique new procurement framework that will actively help tackle the region’s skills shortage, has officially launched.

Under the framework agreement, contractors will have a responsibility to support construction skills training. However, unlike other procurement routes, Procure North West will also directly fund additional training by donating a percentage of the framework fee to help more young people develop skills and access apprenticeships.

The framework, which is seeking to appoint contractors with the capability to deliver public sector construction projects up until 2022 across the North West, has also committed to supporting public sector bodies with access to grant funding through a Strategic Procurement Fund.

Public sector organisations looking for financial backing for strategic new projects can apply for free grants, with the money generated by Procure North West.

These elements are integral to helping set Procure North West apart from other frameworks and managing director, Robbie Blackhurst explains why this was important to address: “Public sector budget pressures and skills shortages are two of the biggest issues facing the construction industry right now.

“As well as helping to facilitate projects that will help shape our growing towns and cities, I felt it was important to be able to give something back to help protect the future of the industry in the region. The framework pushes the boundaries of how procurement can support public sector bodies to deliver their strategic targets and enable them to deliver projects that they may otherwise not be able to get off the ground.”

All public-sector bodies, including local authorities, schools, colleges, universities, NHS trusts and leisure providers are eligible to use the framework. When in project delivery phase, both the clients and contractors will be supported by Procure North West’s dedicated framework managers who will be able to troubleshoot issues and enable projects to keep to their budget and timeline targets.

The framework will cover four project value bands from £1m-£5m, £5m-£15m, £15m-£25m, and £25m+ with up to eight contractors allotted to each category.

The launch of the new framework by Blackhurst follows over a decade of experience in being directly involved in public sector procurement in the construction industry and his identification of areas for improvement in common procurement routes.

“Through my own experience and our detailed analysis of procurement options across the UK, there are multiple factors that result in frameworks not working in the most efficient or beneficial ways for both clients and contractors”, explains Robbie.

“For example, some come with high fee rates, while others have too many or not enough contractors per project value band. That’s why I wanted to develop a hybrid procurement route, that takes the best individual component parts of what is currently available and bring them together under the Procure North West framework.”

Contractors interested in the framework are requested to register their interest by Friday 23rd February via: https://www.procurenorthwest.co.uk/register-interest.