Two leading industry figures go as part of Paul Morrell’s shake up at the Public Sector Construction Clients forum

Leading industry figures James Wates and Don Ward have been asked to leave a government procurement group led by chief construction adviser Paul Morrell

The move is part of a shake-up of the Public Sector Construction Clients forum, on which Wates and Ward were private sector representatives. Morrell (pictured) wants the group, which is aimed at getting better value construction procurement, to have public sector representatives only.

Morrell said the shake-up, which will see the forum reformed as the Construction Clients Board “does not signal a move away from a collaborative relationship between government and its suppliers”. However, he said clients needed to be able to “speak freely and in confidence”, especially about public sector spending cuts. Performance of major suppliers to the government would be “subject to review and discussion at the board”.

Clients needed to be able to speak freely and in confidence, especially about public sector spending cuts

Paul Morrell, Chief Construction Adviser

Morrell said there needed to be “frank exchanges about existing departmental plans and things that can be done better”.

He will attend meetings of the private sector-focused Strategic Forum to brief it on the work of the Construction Clients Board.

Suppliers would periodically attend the board in relation to specific issues, he said.

Morrell said: “I would hope that this, plus a closer engagement with major suppliers, has the makings of a more structured relationship between the demand and supply sides, with the focus on making things happen, to deliver improved value to the public purse.”

The board has recently been involved in developing reforms to payment and prequalification. Last month, a standard prequalification questionnaire was made available as a free download in a bid to save time and money.

Previously construction firms have often had to answer a different set of questions every time they have bid for government contracts. The government is also making
30-day payment periods a contractual obligation - previously, companies working for the government were expected to sign up to a fair payment charter, but this has not always been rigidly enforced.