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Skanska boss says UK procurement is too complex

Procurement practices in the UK are among the most complex in the world and are costing clients money, Skanska UK chief executive Mike Putnam told NCE this week.

Putnam said unnecessarily complex procurement was adding cost to the bidding process.

“If you look across our group, the UK is the most complex,” said Putnam. “On the one hand that’s quite good because we are flexible and willing to try new things. But it introduces a level of complexity that adds cost,” he said.

Putnam’s comments came after a month which saw the Environment Agency suspend procurement on its £2.5bn Water and Environment Management framework on legal advice (NCE 15 January). Suffolk County Council has also restarted procurement of its £400M highways maintenance contract after its preferred bidder pulled out (NCE 31 January).

But Putnam backed the Highways Agency, which has come in for criticism over its new-look Asset Support Contracts (NCE 24 January). “I applaud what the Highways Agency is trying to do. It is an intelligent client and has pushed the industry quite hard and quite rightly on areas such as lean construction,” said Putnam.

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