HIGHWAYS AGENCY officials confirmed this week that they have banned poor performing consultants and contractors from teaming up with better regarded firms so they can get on to its tender lists.
The Agency is in the process of ranking consultants and contractors using its new capability assesment toolkit (CAT).
This ranks firms or joint ventures, with the top five automatically put on to shortlists for work over £5M.
So far, 59 firms have been assessed and scored under 18 different criteria.
When firms form joint ventures to bid, scores are aggregated. It was originally assumed that this would be a simple average, leaving the door open for high scoring firms to use lower scoring partners without compromising the aggregated score.
But Agency supply chain manager Gary Wright said this week that it is more likely that the lowest score will be taken, severely damaging the chances of poor scoring firms being invited into a joint venture.
'In each category a company can only obtain a score if it can show that it meets the criteria across the entire organisation.
'So really, when merging two or more scores, we should take the lowest score in each category as that is the highest score that can be demonstrated to be consistently applied, ' said Wright.
'But that means that the combined score will be driven by the lowest scores.'
The Agency is not expected to make the results public until later this month although many firms have already been informed of their scores.
Atkins is believed to be among the highest scoring consultants but has admitted that one of its key partners has scored poorly.