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Partnerships for Schools to review troubled BSF procurement process

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Partnerships for Schools (PfS), the organisation behind the government's ambitious Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative, has officially announced its review of the programme's heavily criticised procurement process.

PfS is now calling for architects, designers, information and communication technology (ICT) specialists, construction companies and procurement experts to take part in workshops and meetings to improve BSF's profligate procurement methods.

PfS will explore three areas: the place of design in the procurement process, the interface between ICT and construction procurement, and whether Local Education Partnerships could be expanded to help deliver wider regeneration schemes beyond school building projects.

The announcement comes just three weeks after the AJ revealed that the cost of an entire primary school is wasted during the procurement process with each BSF bid (AJ 06.09.07).

PfS chief executive Tim Byles said: 'This targeted Procurement Review enables us to reflect on what we have learned to date and, importantly, to listen to the views, experience and expertise of others in the wider BSF community.

'It is clear that any project of this scale benefits from regular refinement through learning and dialogue and I am committed to building on the improvements we have already made.'

Byles added: 'This will focus on ways in which to increase the pace even more, keep costs to a minimum and, overall, ensure that we make the very most of this opportunity to transform education in secondary schools across England.'

The BSF Procurement Review starts in October, and is expected to be completed by the end of December.

Meanwhile, Birmingham City Council last week announced the three shortlisted consortia vying for the city's £2.9 billion BSF contract. It is thought that almost £20 million could be spent by the two unsuccessful bidders.

The shortlisted teams are:

  • Bovis Lend Lease working with Fat, DSDHA, and SMC Alsop;
  • Land Securities Trillium with BDP, Nicholas Hare and Seymour Harris, who will be working on sample schools, and Wilkinson Eyre, Penoyre & Prasad, Glenn Howells, AHMM, Haverstock Associates and RTKL, who will be working on non-sample schools;
  • and

  • Galliford Try with Aedas, Hawkins Brown and DRMM.
  • by Richard Vaughan

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