SEC Group condemns waste of money on multiple prequalification schemes

SEC Group

Nearly £40 million a year is wasted by the specialist engineering sector on the cost of prequalification schemes, according to an extensive survey by the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group. This is the cost of firms being required to join multiple prequalification schemes in order to be eligible to bid for work. Larger firms may have to belong to as many as 20 schemes, mainly run by commercial operators. SEC Group comments that there is no evidence of any added value to clients of all this activity.

606 firms responded to the survey, and the responses were analysed by independent consultant Metra Martech.

On average, each firm belonging to member bodies of SEC Group spent nine days a year on paperwork relating to the different schemes — a total of 60 000 days a year for SEC Group firms.

Announcing the results of the survey, Trevor Hursthouse, the chairman of the SEC Group commented, ‘The over-riding message to come out of this survey is that the process of prequalification must be rationalised. The waste associated with the duplication of effort is unacceptable. If we can eradicate this waste, it will help to promote a more sustainable industry, whilst in the longer run the industry’s clients can benefits from having annual savings of £40 million.’

He added, ‘The public sector is a major culprit. While we are pleased that the Government acknowledged that prequalification is a huge problem, we need firm Government action to resolve it. To that end, we support the work being carried out by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills — with the support of the Office of Government Commerce — to produce a common standard for pre-qualification. But to make real progress with this issue, OGC needs to actively support and implement this standard throughout the public sector and right through the supply chain.’

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