Government to release first of 71 schemes to contractors on academies framework

The first of £800m worth of academies projects given the go-ahead by the government earlier this year are to reach market in June, it has been announced today.

The 71 schemes, which were put on hold by the government last July, have been reviewed by Partnerships for Schools, and will now be tendered to the 15 contractors on the academies framework.

Building reported in March that PFS was preparing to start releasing the schemes to market “over the next few months.” Chief executive Tim Byles confirmed today that the first batch of projects would be tendered in June, with the remainder to follow in batches over the course of the next 18 months.

The schemes will be divided into £250m worth of work (28 schemes) in the North, and £550m (43) worth in the South. The first two schemes to come to market, worth £25m, will be in Bolton and Brighton.

The schemes will be a major boost to the 15 firms on the academies framework. In a further encouraging sign for those firms, Byles said he expected that work on University Technical Colleges and studio schools would also be procured through the framework, which is also already being used for free schools.

Byles added, however: “This represents an opportunity for firms right through the supply chain, including architects and specialist contractors, as well as those on the framework.”

Byles said that PFS would look to make the procurement process on the schemes as fast as possible, in line with recommendations in the Sebastian James review. He said they would be targetting “the same kind of time” as the pilot project PFS has run on Campsmount Project in Doncaster, which halved the usual procurement process.

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