The UK’s Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) has released a new guidance note aimed at helping ACE members and their clients to navigate the ‘best practice’ that exists surrounding the complicated world of the procurement process.
This note is aimed at distilling down the existing best practice from both public and private sectors and providing simple advice in relation to the more challenging areas of commercial strategy, the procurement process and contracting. The purpose of this is to enable both clients and consultants to better understand each other’s drivers and constraints in order to discuss and agree on a balanced way forward.
Ahead of any procurement process, the phase of commercial strategy development is crucial to setting up the commercial environment to support success. This phase of the process involves determining the outcomes to be delivered by any potential procurement, and the key decisions during this phase include ‘what will be procured?’, ‘who will use the framework/contract?’, ‘how long will it last?’, ‘what is the value?’, and ‘what is the packaging strategy?’. All of these critical decisions need careful consideration and market sounding in order to develop a clear brief for the procurement exercise to deliver against.
The Project 13 commercial handbook has six commercial principles which set out some existing best practice ideals, however it is not always appropriate to aim to include these in each commercial engagement, and bespoke advice and strategic conversations with the market will help to prepare both parties to enter a successful procurement exercise.
ACE will be supporting the release of this document by providing the opportunity for clients to come to a single source for consultancy market sounding. Through convening its members, ACE is able to offer input to commercial strategy development on the following:-
- a consultancy industry view on risks to delivery of the project which should be considered in the development of the commercial strategy;
- convening consultancy businesses to provide feedback on a draft commercial strategy;
- a view on the current market conditions and how this might impact on business appetite to bid e.g. Professional Indemnity at present;
- an understanding of the structure of the market and how to access the right areas of capability the client is looking for.