Blackpool Council smashes traditional boundaries with a new innovative small works pavement framework

Blackpool Council is about to embark on an innovative procurement for small improvement works with individual values up to £150k that anticipates appointing a number of contractors for a 4-year term based on a 100% weighted quality assessment.

The concept will be to invite expressions of interest from suitably qualified organisations who are prepared to work in a collaborative manner with both the Council and each other in order to drive faster innovation and optimise value for money through the services delivered. The Council wants to work with those who are best placed and most willing to identify the right treatments in the right place at the right time.

In order to create an atmosphere that fosters the right behaviours and rewards the best providers the Council aims to develop something of a ‘test bed’ environment where innovation is welcomed and risks shared, all with support and input from DfT and RSTA.

Once the contractors are appointed, they will be invited to participate in workshops/site visits to review and comment upon an annual list of prioritised works. The contractors will be expected to work in collaboration with the Council and one another to determine the most effective treatments to extend the life of the network.

Blackpool will then have the option of making a direct award to a single contractor, providing the cost are acceptable and built up in accordance with their tender or seek prices from a number of the contractors via a mini competition.

Therefore, as the highways maintenance market continues to move more towards direct engagement with tier 2 contractors Blackpool see this as the chance for the market to come together to break the current ineffective tendering cycle by engaging directly with smaller organisations who are really at the heart of innovation in our sector.

Principal attributes of the framework;

  • The framework will be accessible by all LCRIG and AGMA members – currently 56 local highway authorities.
  • Scheme values will range from £5-150k
  • 12-16 contractors will be appointed to the framework
  • The framework documentation is to be made available to all LCRIG and AGMA members to encourage further use of the innovative principles contained in the approach. This is being done because Blackpool acknowledge that other councils may have particular requirements around carbon reduction, social value, etc and also wish to see their own local suppliers engaged who may not have been appointed to the Blackpool framework

It is important to understand that this is not just another framework.  It is in fact providing an opportunity to those companies that might otherwise struggle to get on Council tender lists or Tier 1 provider supply chains. Blackpool aim to become an “incubator” for novel techniques and inventions that might otherwise be overlooked. This will benefit the whole industry as well as stimulating the local economy and getting cash directly to the front line. This approach requires vision and a real leap of faith by the Council as it is actively seeking out and trailing innovation.

If other councils do adopt this approach and procure similar frameworks it could potentially create a whole new delivery community focused on delivering innovative approaches to highways maintenance that are faster, cheaper and better.

For further details on how to register with Blackpool Council’s ‘Chest’ please contact LCRIG.

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