THE HIGHWAYS Agency has this week thrown a lifeline to firms gaining low scores on its new supplier ranking system.
It has decided that scores achieved using its Capability Assessment Toolkit (CAT) will be averaged when firms team together to win work.
The Agency had previously indicated that scores would be based on the lowest achieved by either partner.
The CAT assesses firms under 18 different criteria with the top five scores automatically put onto shortlists for work over £5M.
Last week the Agency said that it was more likely the lowest score would be taken when firms band together, severely damaging the chances of poor scoring firms being invited into joint ventures.
'Various options for aggregating company CAT scores have been considered, but I can confirm that vendor ratings will be based on averages of the individual company scores, ' said Agency supply chain manager Gary Wright.
The Agency's change of heart comes as firms begin to forge partnerships for the first contract that will use the scoring system - the Area 2 (Somerset & Dorset) Enhanced Managing Agent Contractor (EMAC).
This will almost certainly attract bids from consultant/ contractor alliances.
Consultants Parsons Brinkerhoff, Faber Maunsell and Mott MacDonald are all understood to be interested in bidding, as are contractors Amec, Carillion, Nuttall, Lafarge and Fitzpatrick.
Parsons and FaberMaunsell appear to be best placed consultants, with high scores of 61 and 60 respectively.