CONTRACTORS AND consultants bidding for major roads contracts will have to undergo a rigorous assessment of the way they run their businesses, the Highways Agency said this week.
It is consulting on the introduction of a new selection process which will identify those most likely to deliver best value for money.
The Agency will make consultants and contractors bidding for projects worth £5M or more complete a 'capability assessment toolkit' (CAT).
The results of the CAT will be used with data on past performance to rank firms against their rivals.
The best five will automatically make it on to tender lists, after allowance has been made to avoid over-reliance on one firm.
'The overwhelming majority of our services are delivered by consultants and contractors, so getting the most capable firms on board is absolutely essential, ' said Highways Agency supply chain manager Gary Wright.
'The logical conclusion is that we are going to give work to the same companies every time. But we are giving work to the best companies, and everybody would see the fairness in that, ' said Wright.
Firms will be assessed against 18 capability attributes in six broad areas. These include company strategy, involvement and accountability of senior management, staff development, and partnering.
The system will operate under tough rules. There is no right for firms to appeal against ranking they consider unjustified and a firm cannot be reassessed within six months of its first assessment.