Prisons, courts and police stations have been given the opportunity to engage more collaboratively with the construction sector thanks to a major new procurement agreement which will help shape public sector construction.

All public sector bodies can use Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) Construction Works and Associated Services agreement to find companies to help build things like new schools, hospitals, office buildings, universities, prisons, and houses. It has a maximum potential value of £30bn over the next seven years. 

The agreement prevents public bodies having to run their own costly and time-consuming procurement exercises.building site - a new procurement agreement has been made

It will help both the government and the construction sector in achieving objectives under the Government’s Construction Strategy and Industrial Strategy, which was formed in collaboration with industry and supports sustainable construction.

The news came the week after it was announced by Justice Secretary Robert Buckland that prisons across England and Wales would receive a £156million cash boost to tackle the most pressing maintenance issues.

The new investment will update critical infrastructure such as fire systems and boilers, refurbish cells and showers and improve conditions for those living and working in prisons requiring the most urgent attention.

CCS has today named 128 suppliers, including 57 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), on the procurement agreement. 31 of 38 sub-lots have been awarded today. CCS expects to award the remaining lots in due course. 

It is the first government-led construction agreement which can be used by the whole public sector. Organisations will use the agreement to find companies to construct new buildings, refurbish existing properties, undertake repairs and demolition, and decommission redundant assets.

'A solid foundation for public sector bodies to achieve the best outcomes'

The Minister for Implementation, Simon Hart, said: “This agreement will help public bodies across the country carry out the work needed to build much-needed new housing as well as improve schools and hospital buildings.

“I know this will be welcomed by people up and down the country and I really look forward to seeing some of the incredible projects this agreement will help to facilitate.” 

Sam Ulyatt, Commercial Director, Buildings at CCS said: “This new agreement provides a solid foundation for public sector bodies to achieve the best outcomes and value for their investment across the whole construction lifecycle. 

“The principles of this agreement are collaboration and integration with supply chains, boosting innovation at a critical time and supporting the government’s work towards achieving a zero-carbon 2050 target.”

The new agreement was designed to ensure a level playing-field for SMEs. There are lots for different contract values and regional lots open to local suppliers, to ensure that smaller companies can compete for places. Close to 99% of all providers in the construction industry are SMEs.

The agreement also provides access to specialist construction work for air-side and maritime construction services, as well as modern methods of construction, such as offsite manufacturing.

Meanwhile, the maintenance funding builds on the government’s previous announcements to transform the prison estate, totalling £2.75 billion:

  • with up to £2.5 billion to provide 10,000 additional prison places and create modern, efficient jails that rehabilitate offenders, reduce reoffending and keep the public safe.
  • a further £100 million will also bolster prison security, clamping down on the weapons, drugs and mobile phones that fuel violence, self-harm and crime behind bars.
  • in addition to the £156 million for pressing maintenance.