HC Deb 22 July 1968 vol 769 cc12-3
13. Mr. Allason

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will now make a statement on his policy regarding the use of serial contracting by public sector building owners so as to keep together specialist design and construction teams at the conclusion of one-off jobs.

Mr. Mellish

I have always attached considerable importance to the recommendations of the Banwell Committee that aim at better continuity of work for contractors. Serial tendering is one way of achieving this. All public sector clients are being encouraged to make use of serial procedures where these are appropriate. Five experimental serial programmes have been organised within my own Department. These should provide useful experience which will be made available as widely as possible.

Mr. Allason

Does the Minister agree that this form of contracting is extremely useful, particularly in very expensive projects such as hospital building? Is he in consultation with the Minister of Health to ensure that what he likes to do the Minister of Health likes to do as well?

Mr. Mellish

Yes. It is my objective for my Ministry to set the example as to contracting procedures and for other Government Departments to follow. Our knowledge on this, particularly the experience to which I have just referred, is one that other Government Departments will willingly follow.

Mr. Costain

The Minister has indicated that he appreciates the value of this, but does he realise that the Question is directed to design and construction teams? Is it not a great advantage that these teams should be kept together so that early mistakes can be corrected in future designs?

Mr. Mellish

I accept that. Forty per cent. of my Department's major works programme was let by term, negotiated or extension contracts. I take the point about the continuity of the design teams.