Firms shift attention to Scape framework after Crown Commercial Service announces further delay


Consultants are losing patience with the government’s flagship £2.9bn consultancy framework and turning their focus to the £350m Scape consultancy framework.

The government’s buying arm, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), delayed procurement of the £2.9bn Project Management and Full Design Team Services framework yet again last week by a further four months – pushing the overall delay to over three years.

A number of consultants, speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed their “annoyance” at the latest delay, and said their attention was now on submitting bids for the Scape consultancy framework, which were due today (5 February).

Building can reveal new bidders for the Scape framework include a joint venture between Faithful + Gould, Arcadis, property consultant Bilfinger GVA and accountant Grant Thornton. Mace is also understood to be entering the race for the Scape framework, although it is unclear whether or not it is bidding in joint venture.

The joint venture is bidding under the name Built Environment Consultancy Services Partnership.

In a statement, the team said it aims to “act as a catalyst” for the growth of Scape and help the framework become the “de facto” choice for local authority and central government clients. Mott MacDonald and Ramboll will act as tier one suppliers to the team.

Faithful+Gould managing director for UK and Europe Jon Sealy said he was convinced that the JV could be even more successful than the F+G had been and that the four firms working together was the “ideal entity” to work alongside Scape on this framework.

John Williams, UK managing director of Buildings at Arcadis, added that the growth of the previous Scape framework was “one of the major success stories in the UK construction industry” and that Arcadis was excited to be part of a JV that could “drive further growth” of the framework.

While Phil Wooley, partner on Grant Thornton’s government and infrastructure advisory team, said his company’s “experience of major programme delivery, our extensive network of local government clients together with our suite of analytics offerings, we believe, will bring an enhanced value and place based perspective to the framework delivery, helping to unlock transformational projects and economic growth”.

Nicholas Freeston, director of government and public sector and BD head of sectors at Bilfinger GVA, added that GVA was delighted to be part of a JV that “offers something fresh and dynamic to the marketplace”. 

The joint venture is the second to go public after Building revealed Gleeds, Aecom and Pick Everard are also bidding for the framework.

Scape will shortlist the tenders during this month with invitations to tender near the end of March.

In an update last week the CCS put back its OJEU to April, with winners to be announced in August.

Industry sources speculated the CCS was either “under-resourced” or “lacking in experience” in running frameworks.

In an email sent to prospective bidders seen by Building, the CCS project management team admitted re-establishing the framework was “challenging given the ambitious timescales we initially set ourselves”.

The government and Mace declined to comment.