Public sector construction procurement has almost doubled in efficiency over the past five years, according to figures released by the Office of Government Commerce this week.

OGC data shows that 65% of public sector projects are completed on time and 61% on budget. This compares with figures of 34% and 25% respectively when the government’s Achieving Excellence in Construction targets were launched in 1999.

The Achieving Excellence targets technically expired in 2002, but the OGC has continued to use the structure to collect data on public sector construction projects.

The department said it would introduce measures next year to continue to address public sector procurement.

The commitment of clients has to be translated into action

Trevor Hursthouse, SEC Group

However, despite the OGC research, the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group is set to meet with John Healey, financial secretary to the Treasury, over fears that the effects of improved procurement are not being felt further down the supply chain. According to a survey undertaken by the trade body, the number of specialist firms dissatisfied with contractual terms on public sector projects has risen by 10% over the past five years, with 57% of firms experiencing payment delays and abuse on most of their projects. The SEC Group is calling on the OGC to establish a review panel to deal with complaints of poor practice.

Trevor Hursthouse, SEC Group chairman, said: “The undoubted commitment of government clients to improving procurement and contractual practices within the supply chain has still to be translated into action.”