The government construction advisor outlines the major aims of his communications strategy

“We need a government construction summit because we never know quite how deep we’re penetrating into the marketplace,” says Paul Morrell, government construction advisor. “I remember asking small players what they thought of Egan and they didn’t know what it was (Rethinking Construction report for The Construction Taskforce in 1998). And we shouldn’t be surprised by that. So I think the big aim is to deepen the audience that we’re getting to.”

Until recently the government was happy to have an ‘arms-length’ approach to infrastructure, delegating the delivery of many projects, especially PFI ones, to quangos. Now with infrastructure higher up the political agenda, departments are taking more control over processes.

“We need to get into supply chains so that we can unlock innovation and find cost savings without loss of value,” Paul Morrell

Morrell reveals: “We need to get into supply chains so that we can unlock innovation and find cost savings without loss of value. This means communicating further down the supply chain than has historically been the case. If the industry wants to be part of the conversation we need a forum where it can hear where we’re headed.”

Morrell’s two priorities as a government advisor are sustainability and affordability - two potentially conflicting aims. However, he remains committed to this twin-pronged approach. “At the Government Construction Summit we’ll see a morning/afternoon split between the two halves of my brief - the Cabinet Office brief, basically the government as client - which is concerned with taxpayer value, as we’re trying to deliver capital cost savings through efficiency.

“In the afternoon we’re focusing on reducing carbon - this is the BIS and Green Construction Board agenda. We’ll be reporting on progress, how we’re working with industry, and what we’d like industry to do in response. In return, they will be feeding back what they’d like the government to do to accelerate the pace in the programme.”