UK government supports conflict avoidance in public procurement

UK government supports conflict avoidance in public procurement
The construction industry’s Conflict Avoidance Pledge, launched in 2018 (Royal Institute of RICS 2022), was formally endorsed by the UK government in September 2022 in an updated version of The Construction Playbook, its policy document for procuring public works projects (HM Government, 2022a).

Under ‘effective contracting’ policy, the playbook states clients should ‘adopt the appropriate provisions’ of the pledge as a standard clause in all public works contracts and ‘use this mechanism to resolve problems before these escalate into disputes’.

NEC model clause


In Issue 120 we set out how the existing NEC dispute resolution provisions can be used to achieve the aims of the pledge (Higgins and Jackson, 2022). However, the UK government has also now published a model clause for public-sector NEC contracts to introduce a RICSapproved conflict avoidance process panel and process in addition to the other standard dispute resolution provisions (HM Government, 2022b).

The revised playbook also recommends dispute avoidance boards as a potential way to avoid and manage disputes more effectively. Where appropriate, it says these boards ‘should be engaged from the inception of a project until completion. We highlighted NEC option W3 for using a dispute avoidance board in our previous
article (Higgins and Jackson, 2022). 


References

Higgins P and Jackson S (2022) How NEC4 helps users honour the Conflict Avoidance Pledge. NEC Users’ Group Newsletter 121, 6−7.
HM Government (2022a) The Construction Playbook: Government Guidance on Sourcing and Contracting Public Works Projects and Programmes, version 1.1. Cabinet Office, London, UK,
HM Government (2022b) Model Clause – Conflict Avoidance. 12−23 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1102392/220901-HMG-Model-Clause-Conflict-Avoidance.odt
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/theconstruction-playbook
RICS (2022) Conflict Avoidance Pledge https://www.rics.org/uk/products/dispute-resolutionservice/
conflict-avoidance-pledge
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