Chief executive of Partnerships for Schools says ‘ultimate goal’ is 52-week process

Partnerships for Schools is to carry out a major review of its procurement strategy in an attempt to cut down the time it takes to bid for schools projects.

Tim Byles, chief executive of PfS, unveiled the main areas of inquiry this morning at the delivery body’s annual design conference in London.

These are:

  • A centralised PQQ process, which would mean bidders do not have to prequalify each time they bid for a scheme. This would cut the 75-week procurement process by about 10 weeks
  • Sampling design in a different way, possibly by including the use of exemplar schemes or by reducing the number of sample designs required to one PFI school, with a schedule of rates for the design and build scheme
  • Changes to ICT procurement, looking at the circumstances in which ICT can be bid for separately
  • Improved timetabling, ensuring Building Schools for the Future and local authority committee meetings are synchronized
  • Working with the RIBA to look at the possibility of introducing a model in which local authorities appoint a design team from a pre-selected framework to develop exemplar designs for the sample scheme in their BSF bid process.  

Tim Byles said that the new exercise would build upon the previous procurement review, which has reduced procurement timescales by up to two months. He said the “ultimate goal” was to achieve a 52-week procurement process.

Byles added: “We are looking to ensure that revised proposals for procurement for BSF will be useful in the reuse of existing buildings that are not currently being used for education as well as refurbishing schools and new build solutions”