Report of Corporate Director for Communities, Environment and Resident Services
Chris Keane, Head of Highway Services, and Meagan Milic, Highways Compliance Manager, presented the report and stated the following:
a) the report sought approval for the provision of future procurement arrangements to support Nottingham City delivery of statutory Highway Maintenance Works, Highway Improvement and Public Realm Programmes and Specialist Support Services for Highways Works;
b) there are currently established framework arrangements in place to support highways delivery, but considering the level of framework spend to date and forecast planned work activity in future years, it was essential that new and additional frameworks were established commencing in 2024/25;
c) in preparation for this, and to ensure continuity in procurement compliance for delivery in future years, both new and additional contracts would be required to be put in place, and those would be under framework arrangements without commitment to spend;
d) in addition, there are requirements for approval to access third party frameworks for essential services for Highways;
e) approval is sought to put procurement arrangements in place for the following essential activities:
1. works – planned carriageway maintenance;
2. works – drilling, sawing and cutting;
3. services – site surveys, including ground radar;
4. services – winter service weather forecasting;
f) it was proposed that Frameworks were awarded through conducting processes in accordance with the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules and requirements under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and, where permitted, to access existing national frameworks (provided they demonstrated Best Value);
g) frameworks are anticipated to utilise the National Engineering Council (NEC 4) Suite of Construction Contracts or other industry recognised and accepted terms;
h) a breakdown of the framework requirements is set out in more detail in appendix 1 of the report, including proposed duration of contracts;
i) in the operation of any awarded framework agreements, it will be necessary to award call-off contracts for individual projects and to ensure oversight of the operation of any framework and subsequent call-off arrangements, it is proposed that responsibility be delegated at an operational level to the Contracts and Compliance Manager for Highways.
Resolved to approve procurement and subsequent award of Contracts / Framework Agreements and to delegate authority to the Contracts and Compliance Manager for Highways to act as ‘Framework Manager’ on the awarded call-off from the Framework Agreements as detailed in appendix 1 to the report.
Reason for recommendations
a) Recommendation 1 - Procuring Highway Frameworks will allow Highway Services to continue to compliantly deliver works and services to fulfil statutory obligations to maintain the highway and support all Transport Services in compliant delivery options.
b) The identified benefits of putting these arrangements in place are:
· continuity in the provision of compliant delivery arrangements for highways activities in response to sustained grant allocation for highways and transport projects;
· enabling the delivery of external grant funded schemes in line with the timescales of the award;
· a value-for-money delivery model with no fixed financial commitment to use the framework;
· opportunities for local Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) companies to tender for the work; through framework awards under smaller lots;
· the potential for a local workforce either through direct employment or through regional SME sub-contractors;
· ensuring the Council complies with its duty of Best Value by going through a competitive process to evaluate price and quality; this to include further competition through mini-competition;
· economies in accessing established third-party frameworks where viable;
· the ability to develop relationships with a core set of framework providers to the Council and ensure effective management through such relationships;
c) appendix 1 outlines the frameworks required to be approved under this decision, including estimated spend over a 4-year period. All frameworks have no commitment to spend, and values stated are estimated based on current operational forecasts and the MTFP;
d) Recommendation 2 – To have a named officer to have oversight of the frameworks and approve any call-off arrangements will ensure that there is appropriate and ongoing governance of the spend under, and operation of, the frameworks. In addition, to ensure that the necessary authorities and budgets are in place on a project-by-project basis before a call-off can be awarded;
e) this delivery model has a number of additional benefits including:
· strong links to our corporate value and objectives through:
I. comprehensive compliant financial and procurement arrangements;
II. provision of real opportunities for local businesses and local employment;
· a highly flexible and responsive structure to accommodate short term changes to delivery programmes;
· local knowledge available in the planning and assessment of proposed works.
Other options considered
a) Not to let Contracts or Frameworks - Not having compliant procurement measures in place will adversely affect our ability to engage with suppliers and contractors to deliver essential highway works and projects, in particular through time limited external grant funding.
b) Further, no effective means to demonstrate compliance with financial and procurement regulations for the significant spend in future years by the broader Transport Group at NCC.
c) To not progress new framework arrangements will jeopardise grant funding and Nottingham would lose out on the opportunity to invest the City, its transformation and in local neighbourhoods. It would also fail to demonstrate commitment to the Government’s Levelling Up agenda putting at risk the ability to secure future capital funding.
d) To directly award Contracts - this would require commitment to spend at point of contract, would not provide the flexibility required for service requirements, including commercial market opportunities, over the period and therefore not provide best value.