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21 December 2021

Gold Standard to improve public sector construction projects

An independent review, led by Professor David Mosey from King’s College London’s Centre of Construction Law & Dispute Resolution, has called for a new ‘Gold Standard’ in public sector construction frameworks, to help tackle waste, secure value for money and drive innovation.

Two cranes are silhouetted against a sunset sky.

Recommendations for the new standard, which have been published by The Cabinet Office, are designed to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved in public sector developments, such as new roads, rail projects, schools, hospitals and prisons.

The effectiveness of construction frameworks is hampered by duplication, inconsistency and adversarial practices, wasting large amounts of money and impeding essential progress. The new ‘Gold Standard’ for frameworks and framework contracts drives the strategic actions that will improve value and safety, manage risks, meet Net Zero Carbon targets and support a profitable construction industry’.

Professor David Mosey, King's Centre of Construction Law & Dispute Resolution

The independent review led by Professor Mosey looked at public sector construction frameworks with a combined value of £180 billion and considered more than 120 written submissions and 50 interviews.

Analysis found evidence of waste, confusion and duplication in processes ­as well as too strong a focus on achieving the lowest price, rather than best value.

To tackle these issues, the Gold Standard puts in place 24 recommendations, which must be met by both developers and the public sector.

The standard sets out how both the government and the construction industry must work together to tackle waste, secure value for money and drive innovation to achieve better, faster, safer and greener outcomes.

The move will help to drive consistency across major government projects and support the whole supply chain, meaning major schemes do not fall behind and small businesses have a greater chance of securing government business.

Cabinet Office Minister, Lord Agnew, said: “The new Gold Standard will make sure that vital public sector developments have rigorous measures in place to make sure public money is spent well and that projects are delivered successfully.

“This will be welcomed across the public sector, the construction industry and by the public, who have a right to expect the best possible public sector projects.

In 2018, public sector works contributed £117 billion to the UK economy, as well as supporting more than two million jobs.

The Gold Standard will need to be met by all future construction frameworks and also recommends actions to improve value under existing frameworks.

Constructing The Gold Standard - An Independent Review of Public Sector Construction Frameworks, is available online.

The review is a result of the Construction Playbook, which was launched by the Cabinet Office in 2020 with the aim of making sure the public sector and construction industry work together better to deliver key infrastructure projects.

In this story

David Mosey

Professor of Law