A £200m public sector framework has been put on ice for three months after the government failed to refresh it on time

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) project management framework, which is used by Whitehall departments, local authorities and emergency services, closed on 1 March.

But the body has said its replacement, which is estimated to be worth about £200m a year, will not be in place until June at the earliest.

Consultants criticised the “frustrating” delay, at a time when public sector work is so vital, and said it was equivalent to losing £50m of work.

A senior manager at a firm on the framework said: “There’s a three-month freeze on work that would have come through otherwise. They know nobody will complain because we’re all hoping to get onto the new list.”

They know nobody will complain because we’re all hoping to get onto the new list

Consulting Source

A public sector director at another firm said he was still hoping the matter would be resolved quickly. He said: “It’s a bit frustrating given market conditions, but it’s a relatively short amount of time.”

Interviews for the new four-year framework, which is expected to include 10-12 places, are expected in late April. Twenty firms or consortiums were shortlisted last September, including Cyril Sweett, Gleeds, Capita Symonds, TPS Schal, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Jacobs and Mott MacDonald.

Members of the former framework are also in the running. They are Gardiner & Theobald, EC Harris, Lend Lease Projects, Turner & Townsend and a Drivers Jonas and Davis Langdon consortium.

An OGC buying solutions spokesman said customers of the framework were notified it would not be extended. He said: “Some customers were able to bring their requirements forward.”