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Road contractors assessment underway

Highways Agency auditors have this week started assessing contractors for its latest capability rankings.

The new Strategic Alignment Review Toolkit (StART) system will replace the old Capability Assessment Toolkit (CAT) rating system, which ranked firms on the basis of their corporate culture.

Firms are being audited on leadership, supply chain management, cost, social inclusion and sustainability. Day long assessment visits by Agency staff are taking place throughout February and March. Scores will be moderated and published by the end of March.

The results of StART will be applied to high value major projects and future maintenance contracts.

In future a scaled down version of StART will be built into the pre-qualification process for lower value contracts.

StART scores could influence joint venture pairings. Where firms are bidding in joint venture they will be assessed individually and the average of their scores used for short-listing in the prequalification process. The contractor’s designer on a major project will not be required to have a StART score.

The Agency makes no secret that cost reduction is a driving force behind the new toolkit.

“We, in common with all government departments, face the continuing challenge of delivering our targets for less,” read the toolkit instructions.

“We therefore need our key suppliers to mobilise all their talents and resources to deliver smarter and more efficient ways of working, for example through collaborations, innovations and lean process improvements.”

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