20 May 2009

Bidders sought for new BSF work

A £4 BILLION framework to procure the design and build of Academies and other educational facilities in local authorities which are not yet engaged with the BSF programme is now out to tender, offering opportunities for up to 24 main providers and their supply chains.

“The new Contractors' Framework has been designed specifically to open up the opportunities to all contractors with a track record of delivering secondary schools or similar projects, enabling smaller regional bidders, as well as larger national firms to get involved,” explains Tim Byles, ceo of Partnerships for Schools. “With over 127 Academies being delivered through BSF currently, with over 100 more in the pipeline, the new Framework will enable contractors and suppliers from across the country to get involved in a scheme that has a predictable flow of work, supported by direct grant Government funding.

“As the current Academies Framework nears its £2 billion OJEU limit much sooner than originally anticipated, we are starting the new procurement exercise to secure the future work stream, maintaining the focus on streamlined and accelerated delivery of new academy schools.”

While procured on a national basis the Contractors' Framework will have two discrete geographical areas. The first area will be made up of the North West, the North East, Yorkshire and The Humber, the East Midlands and the West Midlands; the second will be made up of East of England, the South West, the South East and London. Up to 12 contractors will be appointed for each of the two areas, with bidders able to express an interest in one or both.

The successful contractors and their supply chains are expected to be in place and bidding for work from November/December 2009 onwards. The new framework will operate in tandem with the initial Academies Framework, which will continue to operate until December 2010.

Local authorities that are currently engaged in the BSF programme will continue to procure academies through Local Education Partnerships (LEPs) in the same way as other educational facilities. The procurement and project management expertise which PfS already provides to the BSF programme will ensure that similar economies of scale are achieved in the Academies programme, and that it is delivered in the most cost-effective and efficient way.

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