North East Connected

CIC gives further support for CAN’s charter for change

More than half the region’s MPs also back it 

Construction Alliance NorthEast (CAN), the organisation established to represent the interests of over 500 regional SMEs engaged in construction and civil engineering, continues to receive widespread backing for its construction charter from industry bodies as well as over half the region’s MPs.

The Construction Industry Council (CIC), is the latest to show its support.

CIC is the representative forum for the professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations in the construction industry and is an influential body, seen as a good link for people to talk to the industry as a whole because of its multi-discipline membership.

The CIC name now sits beside those of the North East of England Chamber of Commerce, Sunderland City Council and Northumberland County Council – organisations that have already supported the Charter.

Setting out the reasons why a re-think on public procurement policy is required, the Charter seeks to change the way in which public sector procurement personnel work with regional SMEs in the construction sector. By adopting more intelligent procurement methods, the Charter argues, this would give regional SMEs a fairer chance to bid for public sector work, building resilience into the northeast construction industry.

Speaking about his backing for the Charter, CIC’s regional chair, John Nielsen, said:

“I am pleased to back the Charter on behalf of our regional CIC members, who have already signed up to a 30-day payment charter which resonates with CAN’s objectives.  CAN’s call for adopting a more intelligent approach to procurement is common sense.

“When contracts are awarded, it is now well recognised that the cheapest price is not always the best in the long run and other buying criteria should be given priority so that decisions are not made simply on what is best value for money, but best value for the community.  That is intelligent procurement in my book.”

If the sustainability of the construction sector is not given priority, the delivery of new homes, workspace and infrastructure to underpin a modern economy will not be realised which will significantly disadvantage the region, explains CAN’s chair, Stuart Miller.  He says:

“I am very pleased that CIC has given its support to CAN’s charter. If you consider the findings of the Edge Commission Report – Collaboration for Change – which is now three years old, the report identified several areas where institutions could make a difference and collaboration on challenges such as industry reform, is one such.

“CAN is trying to cure some of the ills in the construction sector, which have been highlighted in the aftermath of Carillion’s collapse – the need for a more intelligent approach to awarding contracts, as well as fairer payment terms to ensure a healthy supply chain.  Both are topics which CAN is committed to raising and on which we are lobbying to bring about change.”

“Last week, the Government’s Public Accounts Committee produced a further report relating to strategic suppliers – which are those suppliers with the largest value of contracts – and it is highly critical of the procurement process at the present time.  I am very pleased to read that two of the report’s recommendations relate to reducing barriers for SMEs to the bidding process and ensuring that SMEs get paid on time. This is extremely good news.”

Because construction is such a vital part of the regional economy and ensuring the sustainability of the sector is crucial to the North East, eighteen regional MPs have also given their backing.

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