United Kingdom

Overview of transparency in the construction sector 

UK Assurance Team site visit to Broadland Housing Association
The current legal requirements for the release of information through the UK Contract Regulations / EU Procurement Directives are most focussed on competition / tendering  stages of procurement. There is little attention paid to transparency during the execution of contracts and post-contract completion. The focus of the UK/EU regulatory system for public construction procurement can therefore be described as being on ‘how’ construction is procured (i.e. the process of competitive tendering) and not ‘what’ is procured, ‘why’ it is procured or ‘the final price’ it is procured for.

The initiative is aligned with the Coalition Government's desire for greater transparency of public spending and has been endorsed by Infrastructure-UK (IUK) as part of the Government’s drive to save £2-3 billion per year on the cost of delivering UK infrastructure by 2015.


Implementation

The UK was one of eight pilot countries which tested a set of principles and guidelines by disclosing Report Cards and Assurance Team Reports from 8 projects from 4 participating clients: Broadland Housing Association, Durham Country Council, the Environment Agency and the Highways Agency. It demonstrated that pro-active disclosure of project information is feasible and highlighted compliance / non-compliance with regulations, policy and best practice standards, and areas for improvement. Each client found the experience of participating in the pilot beneficial and has expressed their support for the initiative going forward.

The UK Government has agreed to support the Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) as part of its Open Government Partnership Action Plan by helping 'to identify suitable projects for the application of Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) in the UK'.   

The MSG is also engaging with a number of different sectors to identify clients who wish to test the process of client led disclosure on demonstration construction projects and programmes. As for the public sector, it is now beginning to engage with two London local authorities which offers the possibility of two trial projects using the cost methodology.

The MSG has also developed a communications strategy, and is continuing the search for new funding. 


Governance

The MSG provides leadership, sets policy standards, steers implementation and consults with government, civil society groups, professional institutions, client organisations and industry. The 
Institution of Civil Engineers hosts the MSG and appoints an independent chairman with representatives drawn from: 
  • Association for Consultancy and Engineering,
  • Broadlands Housing Association
  • Chartered Institute of Building
  • Civil Engineering Contractors Association,
  • Environment Agency
  • Hackney Homes
  • Highways Agency
  • National Consumer Federation
  • Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • Transparency International UK

Contact

Charles Jensen
UK CoST Coordinator
Email: charles.jensen@ice.org.uk
CoST United Kingdom website

Country reports

Procuring entity

Report Cards

Assurance Report

Highways Agency

M40 Junction 15 (Longbridge) bypass

M40 Junction 15 (Longbridge) bypass 

A46 Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Project

A46 Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Project  

Environment Agency

Cobbins Brook Flood Alleviation Scheme 

Cobbins Brook Flood Alleviation Scheme 

Deptford Creek Frontages Package

Deptford Creek Frontages Package  

Durham County Council

Brandon Primary School 

Brandon Primary School

Esh Winning Primary School 

Esh Winning Primary School 

Broadland Housing Association

Dowson Housing Scheme 

Dowson Housing Scheme

Rockland Housing St. Mary Housing Scheme

Rockland Housing St Mary Housing Scheme 

 

Date Published: 27 April 2014
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