Councils blasted over ‘pay to work’ framework

Procurement campaigners have criticised two English councils over a controversial new framework which charges suppliers an annual fee of £1,000

Russell Curtis, a director of architect-run procurement service Project Compass, said the East Sussex and Surrey county councils framework could yield an estimated £250,000 from consultants over its lifetime, and warned it could set a ‘dangerous precedent’ for other clients.

The three-year agreement covers a range of projects in East Sussex and Surrey, and will engage up to 40 suppliers of multidisciplinary and other built-environment services.

Individual companies selected for the contract must pay an annual fee of £1,000, while multidisciplinary teams are liable for a £6,000 yearly charge – despite no guarantee that any projects will be awarded through the framework.

Curtis, who is also a director of London practice RCKa, said: ‘The imposition of annual fees with no guarantee of work sets a dangerous precedent. While the councils involved may well anticipate a significant spend across the life of the framework, there is no guarantee of this, and added to the burden of tendering in the first place it will certainly put many smaller consultants off applying.’



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BDC 309 : Oct 2023