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Recent Papers 03-08-2022

Do a critical review of attempts at building wider values into the procurement process. The focus should be on what is meant by value

Construction Procurement

Conventional approaches to construction and infrastructure procurement have been consistently criticised for continuing to focus the competitive element – the tendering process almost solely on the determination of an initial price for a given design.

Modern approaches to procurement are expected to consider wider client and stakeholder values. Both public and private sector clients have sought to introduce approaches that focus competition not only on economic but also, wider social and environmental outcomes.

In 2017 the UK government put it this way – “We will maximise the contribution that... investments can make to growth and productivity by strengthening consideration of broad strategic outcomes at the earliest stage... and then carrying them through all subsequent parts of the design and procurement process”. In addition, in September 2021 it was emphasised the “The Government is committed to using its position as the single largest construction client to support adoption of a more productive, efficient and sustainable business model within the UK construction sector".

Task details

Your employer – as part of a strategic review of the business - has asked you to produce an internal report on the significance of these moves towards “procuring for value” by both government and private sector clients.

You are tasked to

  • do a critical review of attempts at building wider values into the procurement process. The focus should be on what is meant by value
  • explain and synthesise the current advocated strategic approaches to procurement (including for example the guidance of the Government Playbook, Infrastructure Procurement Route-map and the wide array of Framework Arrangements, available in the market- place) that public and private sector clients are adopting
  • discuss in detail your firm/how firms in the construction industry could be considering how their current business model can help them address the changing procurement approaches, and whether they need to change their business model to capitalize on these changes. You are encouraged to discuss cases and real project examples in building your arguments.

You may choose to apply the learning from the module directly into your current or recent workplace


Business Report Format

The assignment is to be submitted in a report format and as such should have a formal structure and layout. It should be submitted as a single document. The University has produced general guidance for Business Report writing and this should be followed –

Executive Summary

This should contain a summary of all the paper (i.e. the background, project, conclusions and recommendations). Although it comes first, you shouldn’t write it until you have finished the report! Again, it should be concise (usually no more than 5- 10% of the overall report, but do check for any module guidance). Not all reports require this, so do check your module requirements. Don’t include it if not required, or it will be a waste of your word count.

List of Contents

This needs to be accurate and includes all titles and subtitles, along with page numbers. Section numbers are also often used in reports.

For example:

1. Introduction........................................p.1
2. Background........................................p.2
2.1 Current use of building.......................p.2

2.2 Funding Application............................p.5

this needs to be concise, to the point and clearly state what the direction and scope of the report is. While some background to the report/project is useful, think carefully about what your reader needs to know about the background, and what might be unnecessary information.

Main Body

This is usually split into sections to help guide the reader. What sections you decide to use will depend on the project and report, but they should follow a logical path which helps to support your conclusions and recommendations.

You will be expected to draw conclusions to the report. These will summarize your main findings, and address the issues set in the brief. You may also be asked to make recommendations for action, which should, again, address the issue set in the brief. These are often set out as bullet points. They should contain a concise justification for each recommendation.

This is a space to thank anyone who has helped you with the report. They are not usually required for shorter reports, though some people do use them for major projects. If you have worked with a real client or someone in the industry, it might be polite to thank them here. This is rarely a requirement.

Appendices are for information which is relevant or useful, but which might break up the text too much if you included it in the main report. For example, if you had conducted a survey, you may wish to refer to some of the main findings, but putting all of the survey results in the main body may be lengthy. In this case, you could put them in an appendix, and refer your reader to this. Appendices need a title to tell the reader what they are looking at, and they are usually also labelled and referred to in the text as Appendix A, Appendix B and so on. You should only include them if needed and some tutors prefer you to actively avoid them. Do check for your tutor’s preferences.

your report needs to include citations and a reference list, just like an essay!

Presentation and Tone

As well as splitting the report into more sections to allow the reader to navigate through the report, there are also some ways of presenting information in a report which you may not usually use in an essay. You can use bullet points for lists (which would not be recommended in an essay). Graphs, diagrams and tables are also a useful way of putting information into a report succinctly, and in an easily accessible way. However, do ensure that this is the reason you are including them, and that they have a purpose, rather than using them purely to make the report look attractive! Also remember that they need to be labelled (e.g. Figure 1 or Table 2) and given a title. If they are taken from another source (e.g. a journal article) then they also need to be cited and referenced. Although some of the aspects of the presentation of a report are different, you should be careful that your tone is still precise and formal. You should still avoid the use of ‘I’ and ‘we’, unless told otherwise, and maintain a formal use of language.

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