The debate over regulations governing procurement continues …

construction workers 212

The letter published last week in response to my article (1 February 2013) provided an eloquent overview of the EU regulations which prohibit the inclusion of opportunities for local residents and businesses via procurement. During the procurement phase, it is undisputed that contracting authorities cannot use their powers to create local opportunities without creating unfair advantages for local contractors and therefore falling foul of the EU regulations.

Following contract award, however, many contracting authorities have pragmatically designed into their programmes a phase which enables them to engage with the successful contractor and its supply chain before starting on site. This period of dialogue allows the contracting authority to focus on the contractor’s supply chain in order to clarify and enhance its employment and skills requirements.

Of course, the contracting authority cannot go as far as nominating subcontractors or suppliers, but can influence the contractor’s use of SMEs and facilitate introductions to local employment agencies, training facilities and education establishments.

To be used to best effect, these preconstruction phase activities will have clear contractual commitment and programmed timescales, to avoid delay at construction phase.

Rhianna Wilsher, Trowers & Hamlins