GCS latest: Public and private sector clients call for more long-term thinking and innovation in procurement


Procurement must incentivise long-term thinking and innovation in the construction supply chain, public and private clients have told the Government Construction Summit.

Miles Ashley, Transport for London’s programme director of Crossrail and stations, warned clients not to “steal the best innovative ideas from bidders and procure them at a lower cost - we’re still guilty of that as a client base.”

Ashley said procurement must be structured to encourage innovation: “We have to make it worth the market’s while to innovate. If clients want innovation we need to shape up and design procurement to enable that.”

Munish Dutta, head of facilities management at Marks & Spencer, said the public sector could learn lessons from the private sector on long-term planning.

Dutta said: “Our leases typically run from ten to 99 years. We’re starting to experiment with rewarding our suppliers across the whole life performance of buildings rather than just initial delivery.”

Dutta also said the public sector should make sure firms are “properly incentivised” to work with local supply chains and said M&S “measures that and awards work based in it, which works as an incentive.”