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Performance targets for Government clients

THE GOVERNMENT is today expected to announce dramatic changes to the way it procures construction projects.

Treasury chief secretary Alan Milburn is to set out the Government's plans in its new goal-oriented three-year departmental procurement strategy document Achieving excellence.

A Treasury spokesman said the Government aimed to set itself up as a 'best practice client'. The procurement strategy would ursue value for money and would operate through five key mechanisms, including regular measurement of achievement and target reviews.

'We are saying we need to improve our performance in alliance with the private sector', the spokesman said. 'We have set ourselves targets to show the construction industry we are serious.'

Achieving excellence builds on thefindings of the Agile Construction Initiative, a study carried out for the Treasury by the University of Bath. It is thought the procurement strategy will focus on partnership between client, designer, contractor and supplier, supply-chain management, risk reduction and whole-life cost.

The move follows a commitment on Monday by the Defence Estates Organisation, part of the Ministry of Defence, to prime contracting as a preferred procurement route. This it defined as 'integrating the whole design and construction process within a single supply chain under the control of one fully accountable contractor'.

DEO chief executive Ian Andrews said prime contracting could, long-term, deliver a 30% reduction in whole-life cost of new structures. He said the new relationship would result in 'a substantially reduced number of larger contracts of longer duration, possibly embracing a number of contracts over years'.

Two DEO projects being used to develop the prime contracting strategy are being run as demonstration projects in the wake of Sir John Egan's Rethinking construction review. The first to go on site, a recreation facility at Aldershot, starts next week.

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