Utilisation of Procure Partnerships Framework
Decision Maker: Economy Regeneration & Housing Committee
Decision status: For Determination
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
This report seeks members’ approval to delegate authorisation to the Director of Regeneration and Place to utilise the Procure Partnerships Framework to appoint a suitably qualified and experienced main contractor to develop the design and carry out the construction works in relation to the highways, public realm and active travel schemes across the Birkenhead Waterfront Programme (at Appendix 1) and in Birkenhead Town Centre via the Conway Street / Europa Boulevard (at Appendix 2) and Grange Road / Charing Cross / Grange Road West (at Appendix 3) Movement Projects.
Town centre regeneration, transport improvements and the creation of high-quality places is a long-standing priority for the Council and is reflected in the Wirral Council Plan 2021-2026 and the Birkenhead 2040 Framework.
The proposals contained in this report directly support the following key themes within the Wirral Plan:
· A thriving and inclusive economy, creating jobs and opportunities for all;
· A clean-energy, sustainable borough, leading the way in tackling the environment crisis;
· Safe and pleasant communities that our residents are proud of; and
· Healthy and active lives for all, with the right care, at the right time.
The project’s aim to create an environment that is safe and attractive for both pedestrians and cyclists in order to support modal shift and address the environment and climate emergency. These infrastructure improvements will be a critical pump priming element to the ongoing regeneration plans for Birkenhead and will contribute significantly to creating a platform for further investment.
Resolved - that
(1) The director of Regeneration and Place be authorised to commence a procurement exercise by way of a mini tendering process via the Procure Partnerships Framework for the appointment of a main contractor to develop the design and carry out the construction works in relation to the highways, public realm and active travel schemes across the Birkenhead Waterfront Programme and in Birkenhead Town Centre via the Conway Street / Europa Boulevard and Grange Road / Charing Cross / Grange Road West Movement Projects; and
(2) the appointment of a main contractor under a pre-construction services agreement following completion of a tender submission be approved
Reasons for the decision:
The Birkenhead Waterfront and Central Birkenhead (Town Centre) Programmes have been awarded significant funding from the Levelling Up Fund (LUF), Future High Streets Fund (FHSF), Active Travel Tranche 3 (ATF T3) and Town Deal (TD). All the Programmes are time limited. These time related pressures are exacerbated by the current inflation in construction costs and the availability of suitable contractors in a very competitive marketplace due to similar funding awards in many other authorities. Choice of the recommended procurement route and the use of a suitably qualified and experienced main contractor will bring significant benefits and efficiencies to the process, will greatly aid project certainty, ensuring that funding deadlines are met, and the Programmes are delivered as efficiently as possible.
The public realm and highway infrastructure projects contained in the Birkenhead Waterfront and Town Centre Programmes have been awarded significant funding from the LUF, FHSF, Active Travel ATF T3 and TD. They are key projects within the Birkenhead 2040 Framework Strategy. Birkenhead Waterfront is one of the 8 spatial priorities and the immediate Woodside location contained within this area is one of the specific catalyst projects identified.
Supporting the economy is a further priority and Birkenhead Town Centre plays a very important economic function as the home of the high street. The FHSF and ATF T3 projects directly support the revitalisation of the retail core alongside phase 1 of the new Business Commercial District (currently on site), as well as enabling planned high quality residential development locally and other investments.
Sustainable travel is at the heart of the Birkenhead 2040 Framework and emerging Local Plan. The funding streams in this report feed into a range of schemes in these Programme areas and alongside the movement focused projects are part of a wider regeneration Programme to deliver a prosperous, inclusive economy to benefit local residents.
The Council is already signed up to the Procure Partnerships Framework for utilisation under an existing access agreement. There are significant efficiencies in utilising the Procure Partnerships Framework to secure the appointment of a suitably qualified main contractor via a two-stage procurement process which will allow the Council to speed up the delivery of a number of individual regeneration projects across Birkenhead Waterfront and Town Centre Programme areas.
Alternative options considered:
The Council could decide to not to progress with the procurement exercise. This is not considered to be an appropriate option given that funding has been secured and supporting regeneration and active travel is in line with the Council’s emerging Local Plan, Birkenhead 2040 and the commitments to addressing the climate and environment emergency, improving the health of Wirral’s residents and encouraging alternative modes of transport to the private car.
The use of open tendering has been considered but discounted due to the additional time that this process would require. The utilisation of a fully compliant framework allows the Council to maintain an open and transparent procurement process whilst reducing the time taken to engage a suitable main contractor. This approach will enable delivery to be in line with that required by funding bodies whilst striving to recover lost time and maintain the required programme outcomes.
The Council could consider other tendering methods such as a traditional full tender using “Find A Tender” but that would risk delivery of time critical infrastructure projects to the possible detriment of Birkenhead Waterfront, Town Centre, and the Council’s emerging Local Plan. That process can be lengthy to accommodate advertisement of the scheme, assessment of interested parties, due diligence review, shortlisting and ultimate tendering; given the timeframes associated with this project it is not deemed feasible to utilise this route.
Furthermore there is considerable demand for main contractor services of this nature and these need to be secured without delay. All funding provided by the FHSF and ATF T3, is required to be spent by 31st March 2024 therefore it is imperative to avoid further delay and commence activity to develop and deliver the projects.
Publication date: 27/01/2023
Date of decision: 26/01/2023
Decided at meeting: 26/01/2023 - Economy Regeneration & Housing Committee
Effective from: 02/02/2023