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Navigating the PPN 03/23 alongside the Common Assessment Standard:  Efficient, Compliant Procurement

Article, Industry Insights

Navigating the PPN 03/23 alongside the Common Assessment Standard:  Efficient, Compliant Procurement

Procurement Shifts within Construction 

The update by the Cabinet Office, PPN 03/23, marks a significant shift in procurement practices for contracting authorities and public sector bodies. While the notice was initially brought into play March 2023, the deadline for adoption has now passed (June 2023). The policy revision aligns closely with the guidelines outlined in the Constructing Gold Standard Report and The Governments Construction Playbook.  Alongside this, the change has also been prompted by calls from the construction industry. 

It now requires all contracting authorities to align their supply chains with more thorough risk management standards. With revisions to the Standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ) and the incorporation of the Common Assessment Standard (CAS), the landscape of procurement is set for a transformation. This transformation is aimed at enhancing efficiency and compliance. 

Understanding PPN 03/23 

PPN 03/23 revises procurement procedures to streamline and standardise the selection of suppliers. This policy note emphasises the adoption of CAS for contracts exceeding certain thresholds, including those that involve a mix of supplies and services.  It also aligns with the Constructions Playbooks reoccurring theme of ‘Harmonising, simplifying and standardising requirement’. The goal is to provide greater clarity to the pre-qualification process, making it more transparent and equitable for all participants. 

How does PPN 03/23 change the pre-qualification criteria? 

The revision of the statutory guidance and standard selection questions includes changes that cover: 

  • Introduction of health and safety questions  
  • Introduction of data protection questions 
  • Introduction of additional requirements for modern slavery and clarity on handling responses to questions on the Modern Slavery Act (as outlined in PPN 02/23
  • Introduction of questions related to reducing carbon emissions.  
  • Introduction of updated payment questions. 

PPN 03/23 also states that for work contracts involving the procurement of mixed contracts — including supplies and services — contracting authorities should use the Common Assessment Standard. This is in place of the standard SQ template when prequalifying bidders. 

The Role of Common Assessment Standard 

The Common Assessment Standard is at the heart of these changes. CAS is designed to unify pre-qualification criteria across the construction industry, reducing redundancy and the administrative burden on suppliers. By adhering to a single, comprehensive standard, the procurement process becomes more straightforward, allowing for a clearer assessment of supplier capabilities and compliance. 

Achilles Response to supporting the Construction Industry 

At Achilles we recognise the importance for standardised and efficient procurement. Due to this,  Achilles BuildingConfidence is trusted by the world largest construction organisations. The network is a solid foundation for construction buyers to connect with a pool of suppliers whose qualifications have been thoroughly checked and verified.  Achilles is a recognised assessment body that certifies companies to CAS. This means we are perfectly placed to guide and support organisations as they adapt and ensure compliance to PNN 03/23. 

Alongside BuildingConfidence, and in support of a more inclusive and efficient procurement ecosystem, the Achilles Network has introduced a ‘Member’ level for suppliers. This includes access to the SQ question set at no additional cost, is particularly useful for engaging in below-threshold contracts. 

Our approach to this PPN supports our commitment to enhancing the procurement process. We ensure that it is robust, transparent, and aligned with the highest industry standards. 

Deadline and Implications of PPN 03/23

Whilst the deadline has passed, the urgency remains to ensure that procurement processes remain up to date and compliant.  Whilst up until now companies have managed to stay under the radar in regard to PPN 03/23, this is changing.  It is only a matter of time before those that have not updated their processes to align with the new PPN are brought under scrutiny. 

As the selection questions covered by the Common Assessment Standard becomes an official standard in public sector procurement, now is the perfect time for contractors of all sizes to consider gaining the Common Assessment Standard with the support of Achilles BuildingConfidence. 

Schedule a consultation with one of our experts, to explore how these changes impact your procurement strategy. Discover the benefits offered by Achilles in achieving compliance and excellence in your projects. 

Schedule a consultation with one of our experts