James Wates ousted from Government client group
CIOB President James Wates has been asked to leave the Public Sector Construction Clients, a government procurement group run by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The move is part of a shake-up that will have the effect of removing private sector involvement in government procurement discussions, reports Building.
Wates, and fellow private sector representative Don Ward, chief executive of Constructing Excellence, were asked to leave the group by chief construction adviser Paul Morrell, who wants to ensure the group has only public sector representation. The forum’s underlying task is to ensure better value for money in government procurement.
Morrell said the shake-up, which will see the forum renamed the Construction Clients Board: “does not signal a move away from a collaborative relationship between government and its suppliers”, but there needed to be “frank exchanges about existing departmental plans and things that can be done better”.
The shift is intended to allow attendees to speak more freely about spending cuts and the performance of private suppliers, which Morrell said will be “subject to review and discussion”.
Morrell said that supply-side representatives would periodically attend the new Construction Clients Board in relation to specific issues, and he will attend meetings of the private sector-focused Strategic Forum to brief it on the CCB’s work.
“I would hope that this, plus a closer engagement with major suppliers, has the makings of a more structured relationship between the demand and supply sides, with the focus on making things happen, to deliver improved value to the public purse,” he concluded.
The Construction Enquirer website also covered the story, with one source saying: “This smacks of decisions being made behind closed doors without any input from the industry, which I can’t believe is healthy.”