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SURREY'S IN-HOUSE HIGHWAYS CONSULTANCY BEATS OFF STIFF COMPETITION FOR TENDER

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Surrey CC's in-house Environment Consultancy Division (ECD) has beaten two of the largest engineering companies in ...
Surrey CC's in-house Environment Consultancy Division (ECD) has beaten two of the largest engineering companies in the UK to win the tender to provide highways and transportation professional services to the council.

The in-house team, which is made up of about 120 professional staff, provides transportation planning, engineering, quantity surveying and specialist environmental skills. The division provides Surrey with a highway design service and looks after the county's 2,000 bridges and structures and 400 traffic signal installations

The tendering process began as part of a compulsory competitive tendering exercise. Although it no longer has to go out to CCT, the council opted to continue as part of its commitment to ensuring best value.

The process has been overseen, since the selection of the firms to be invited to tender, by specialists in public sector procurement from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). PwC complimented the three final companies on the quality, innovation and price of their bids. It also praised the council's officers on the 'extremely professional approach' they had applied to a 'complex and at times difficult process'.

PwC said: 'We consider that the council has achieved a good level of consultation with the bidders, in particular the need to ensure access to full and detailed information to all bidders when the in-house team, who held much of the information, were also bidding for the contract.

The chairman of the council's transportation sub-committee, Daniel Kee, said: 'This is great news for ECD, for Surrey CC and for local government as a whole. Our in-house team has shown that local government professionals can compete against the best in the UK - and win.'

Work will now begin on bringing together the client and consultancy arms of the engineering service and removing most of the internal charging procedures. This will offer additional benefits to the county council as well as maximising savings.

In addition, in the light of the submission by international consulting engineers, Mott MacDonald, it was agreed that there could be further benefits gained from exploring the possibility of joint working in the area of highways and materials testing.

Trevor Urwin, head of ECD, said: 'We are delighted to have won the bid, particularly against such worthy competition. We are very proud of our superb in-house team. Their professionalism and our use of the best practices from both the public and private sectors led to our success.'

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