Highways England is a government owned company, previously known as the Highways Agency which was an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT), and is responsible for maintaining and improving the strategic road network in England.
Constructionline is used at Stage 1 pre-qualification, where suppliers have two choices. Suppliers can submit their Constructionline membership rather than a full pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) response. Suppliers who are not members of Constructionline have to complete the full PQQ. This cuts the administration time for the procurement team by limiting the paperwork to be reviewed and making it easier for potential suppliers to submit interest by removing the need to complete lengthy PQQ documents.
Constructionline recently supported Highways England with procuring suppliers for its Collaborative Delivery Framework, which will deliver up to £5 billion worth of infrastructure investment for the company. The service was used at both the pre-procurement stage, where the database helped (at the time) the Highways Agency investigate its supply chain in terms of work categories and turnover figures, and during the PQQ stage for financial assessment. 94% of applicants across the framework’s four lots had existing Constructionline accounts.
In addition to using the database, Highways England (and in its former entity as the Highways Agency) also takes advantage of Constructionline’s added benefits, including regularly attending the service’s Meet the Buyer events around the country to engage directly with SMEs to offer local work opportunities. These allow the company to identify, understand and work to remove any perceived barriers SMEs might have about working with the organisation. The events also allow it to raise awareness of potential opportunities for work across regions.
Following a recent Meet the Buyer event, a supplier survey highlighted that 57% of suppliers had never worked with what was the Highways Agency but 100% believe that there are potential work opportunities. Additionally, 100% of suppliers, of which 93% were SMEs, stated that they are likely to make contact with Highways England’s Tier 1 contractors to discuss potential sub-contracting opportunities.
Shaun Lyons, Sector Manager* at Constructionline, said: “Public sector clients are often very keen to work with SME businesses local to the regions where they’re completing construction projects. Highways Agency’s past use of Constructionline and now Highways England’s continued use, helps to demonstrate that they can increase engagement with these groups to help encourage small firms to compete for work on national frameworks, at little additional expense to its procurement department.
“By assessing its supply chain for the Collaborative Delivery Framework using the service, the Highways Agency was able to significantly reduce the time it takes to collate and assess PQQ responses and Highways England continues to benefit from the same process. In addition, the time it took for suppliers registered with us to submit a PQQ response was cut - helping smaller suppliers curtail unnecessary administration costs.”
*Shaun Lyons is now Key Account Lead.