Construction sector given guidance on contractual relief

Dominic Browne

The Cabinet Office has released construction-specific guidance on its recently published Procurement Policy Note 2/20, which outlined how public sector clients can support the supply chain during the coronavirus crisis.

Prepared by its executive agency, the Crown Commercial Service, the guidance blocks companies from furloughing staff that are due to work under contracts subject to relief. 


'Any supplier found to have acted fraudulently by claiming under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (or other COVID-19 support schemes) for workers that are being paid under a public sector contract, may be excluded from future public contracts on grave professional misconduct grounds under regulation 57(8)(c) of the PCRs.'

It also blocks a supplier from claiming separate relief from another source of Government financial support on COVID-19, 'to the effect that the supplier gains an undue advantage by claiming relief twice for the same hardship'.

There is an exception 'where separate relief from the Government is in relation to recovery of costs, which are distinct from any other relief available under the PPN and have been properly incurred by the Contractor.

The new update includes model deeds of variation to provide a set of terms that contracting authorities can use for NEC3 and JCT standard forms of contracts.

The Cabinet Office said it would shortly be publishing Model Terms which will set out some examples of how JCT and NEC contracts may be varied to provide relief to suppliers.  

It also suggests that clients establish Project Bank Accounts for current projects to help with industry cashflow during the COVID-19 crisis. This system is already employed by Highways England.

Immediate cash flow issues seem to remain the focus of the relief for contractors, as opposed to also giving an extension of time.

However, the guidance does state that 'the authority should consider the supplier's request for relief as well as the various forms of relief available under PPN02/20 (whether or not these have been requested by the supplier) and what is the most appropriate relief to the relevant supplier, to enable the works to continue both during (if appropriate) and after the current COVID-19 outbreak'.

It adds that not all relief options will be necessary or appropriate for each supplier under each contract and the authority and the supplier 'will need to engage in discussions on a case-by-case basis to determine the most effective relief or combination of relief(s) and how these should be applied in the individual circumstances'.

Any relief granted will need to be accompanied by provisions around open book transparency and the provision by the supplier of supporting information to allow the authority to check that the commercial principles are complied with when relief is given.

This may include an ability to audit where savings are being applied during the period of relief.

Last week representatives from across the construction industry wrote to the government recommending public sector clients to release retentions to support cashflow in the sector.

The new guidance stops short of proposing this, instead it says that clients may consider doing so, but 'the premature release of retentions by an authority may result in the authority taking on significant risks which are not in its control and which are inappropriate for it to bear'.

Highways jobs

Engineer (Highways Scheme Design)

Medway Council
£31,888 - £37,646 per annum
The post-holder will be required to have highway engineering expertise in order to contribute to efficient and effective provision of... Medway City Estate, Rochester
Recruiter: Medway Council

Principal Flood Risk Officer

Lancashire County Council
We have an exciting opportunity for a Principal Floor Risk Officer Lancashire
Recruiter: Lancashire County Council

Resources and Waste Commercial and Contracts Manager

Northumberland County Council
£47,107 - £50,394
We are looking for a strategic, innovative and performance-focused leader to join us as Resources and Waste; Commercial and Contracts Manager. County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

SEN Travel Assessment Co-ordination Officer

London Borough of Bexley
£35,529 - £41,796
We are currently seeking an experienced officer administrator who will enjoy working as team and under their own initiative, with duties including... Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Bexley

Principal Planning Liaison Officer X3

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Principal Estate Roads Engineer

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Principal Travel Plan Officer

Somerset County Council
£33,799 to £37,849 per annum
We have a number of fantastic opportunities in Somerset at various levels Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Assistant Estate Roads Engineer x2

Somerset County Council
£25,295 to £28,785 per annum
We have 2 exciting opportunities for enthusiastic and committed individuals to join our Highways Development Management Team Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Highways Infrastructure and Maintenance Manager

Bridgend County Borough Council
£38,813 - £40,760 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arrived inside the Highway Asset Maintenance Team within the Communities Directorate. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recruiter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Design Services Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£50,430 - £55,503
We are a team of mixed experience and skills, proud to serve the people of Lincolnshire and have fun whilst doing so! Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Transport Planning Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£29,636 to £32,029
We are looking for a Transport Planning Officer to join our Highways and Transportation service. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Transforming Cities Fund - Project Delivery Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
£48,000 to £55,840
We are looking to appoint to the pivotal position of TCF Project Delivery Manager on a 3 year fixed-term contract, to... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Funeral Operative (Part Time)

Brent Council
£24,462 - £26,274 (pro-rata) p.a. inc.
The person will not need previous experience in funeral services as full training will be given but experience would be an advantage. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Brent Council

Field Officer

Northumberland County Council
£21,589 - £23,836
Field Officer, Permanent,  37 hours per week.  Closing date 29 May 2020 at midnight  Plessey Woods Country Park
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Solicitor - Planning & Transportation Team

Birmingham City Council
£34,788 - £42,683
This is an opportunity to join a team of specialist lawyers dedicated to the Council achieving... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Application Support Analyst

Redbridge London Borough Council
£34,794.00 - £36,711.00
Looking for an experienced Application Support Analyst to join our IT & Digital Services team.  Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Engineer (Drainage)

Medway Council
£31,888 - £37,646 per annum
The post holder will be expected to work closely with our term maintenance contractor to successfully complete schemes. Medway City Estate, Rochester
Recruiter: Medway Council

Refuse Drivers - Rolling Advert, applications checked weekly

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.377 - £23.607
It is an exciting time in Waste and Street Services at the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Car Parks and Neighbourhoods Manager

Derbyshire Dales District Council
£36,876 - £39,782 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to lead and develop the Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Neighbourhoods team. Derbyshire
Recruiter: Derbyshire Dales District Council

Community and Environmental Support Officer – 10 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
You will be doing light maintenance work including removal of graffiti, dealing with overhanging vegetation and removal of... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Crossing the inflection point

COVID-19 recovery plans revealed

Modelling a changing world

The great reallocation

View the latest issue

Latest Video