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Current supply chains to remain favoured over CF portal

Contractors insist they will continue to prioritise existing supply chains despite signing up to an online portal to offer SMEs access to work on government contracts.

The government announced that Amey and Balfour Beatty were among nine companies to “sign up to publish their government subcontracting opportunities” on the government’s online portal, Contracts Finder (CF), while Mitie has agreed to do so in principle.

But H&V News understands contractors will not be obliged to offer work outside their existing supply chains.

Balfour Beatty was required to register its £10 million Scottish Crime Campus fit-out contract, announced last week, on the Scottish PCS online procurement portal as a condition of contract.

But the Cabinet Office insisted it would not require contractors to publish subcontract work via the Contracts Finder portal in new contracts.

A Balfour Beatty spokeswoman said: “As a requirement of the contract, and in support of central government’s initiative to support SMEs, Balfour Beatty has committed to use the [Scottish] PCS Portal to invite pre-qualifications for work packages specifically on this project.”

However, several contractor sources hit out at what was described as “burdensome” moves by the Cabinet Office to interfere with supply chains after years of supply chain rationalisation.

Interserve commercial director Roy Bloom said the company already subcontracts 68 per cent of its government work to SMEs and that the government should “take care to ensure that its good intentions are not resulting in mixed messages”.