- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Welsh Construction companies should get easier access to over £5 billion of public procurement contracts according to recommendations in a new report. Currently only 55% of contracts are being won by Welsh companies.
‘The impact of procurement policy in Wales’ draws on the outcome of consultation with the Welsh construction industry by the National Assembly Cross Party Group for Construction and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
It recommends that:
- A percentage of contract value should be ring fenced for investment in local skills and training, enabling successful bidders to develop the skills of their workforce and bid for more contracts.
- Construction procurement should be led by construction professionals supported by a procurement team. This would reverse current arrangements, making the process more straightforward for companies to compete for work.
- The Welsh Government should encourage more joint bids for contracts, helping companies in Wales – most of which are SMEs – to overcome the challenges of the procurement process.
- More clarity on the Welsh Government’s community benefits policy, including independent monitoring to ensure both construction firms and the public sector can maximise social and economic impact.
- Recognising that Welsh firms winning contracts is a benefit in itself, with the money being reinvested in Wales.
Labour Mid and West Wales AM Joyce Watson, Chair of the Cross Party Group for Construction, said: “With the construction industry forecast to grow by around 6% a year over the next few years, it’s vital Wales gets the most out of that.
“Public procurement delivers both economic and community benefits; it has to offer value for taxpayers, yes, but also support our construction firms, workers and young people, through training schemes.
“Wales-based suppliers now win 55 per cent of overall expenditure, compared to 35 per cent a few years ago – fantastic progress. By identifying the remaining barriers and bottlenecks in the system, our report is a route map to further improvement.”
Speaking at the launch of the report at The National Assembly for Wales, Finance Minister Jane Hutt said: “Only last week I announced a refreshed Wales Procurement Policy Statement and new powers to regulate on public procurement. These new powers will ensure our pioneering approach to procurement, in which we lead the UK, continues to deliver for Wales and one of the first areas I intend to regulate on is community benefits.
“I welcome this Cross Party Group report on construction and the industry feedback which has helped inform its findings. It will help shape our thinking on the future of construction procurement policy in Wales.”
Mark Bodger, Strategic Partnerships Director for CITB Cymru Wales, added: “Working with the construction industry and the Welsh Government, we want to make sure that wherever possible, Welsh money is reinvested in Wales.
“The industry has asked for a procurement system that is more straightforward and easier to access. The plans we have developed with the Cross Party Group take this call to action head on and will deliver a practical approach that helps the Welsh construction industry compete for contracts and deliver the maximum social and economic value for the Welsh procurement pound.”