Procurement Meeting, Joined By Constructing the Gold Standard Verification Scheme’s Independent Verifiers

Constructing Excellence

On Monday 18th March 2024, the Constructing Excellence Procurement Group met to hear more about the Constructing the Gold Standard Verification Scheme which Constructing Excellence launched in collaboration with King’s College London.

For this session, we were joined by two of the Independent Verifiers who are supporting the Scheme’s implementation, Katie Saunders from Trowers & Hamlins and Professor Peter McDermott from University of Salford. They provided updates on how the Scheme is going and shared their understanding of how the Gold Standard recommendations are now being embedded in practice.

About the Scheme

The Verification Scheme is an objective system for recognising and supporting those framework providers and clients who adopt Gold Standard frameworks, framework contracts and action plans.

The Scheme verifies the claims made by framework providers and by those clients who procure their own frameworks or framework alliances. The Scheme establishes firstly Partial Verification and then Full Verification, based on written submissions by applicants, analysis by the Independent Verifiers and final reviews by a Gold Standard ‘Task Group’.

The Independent Verifiers and the Task Group come from a range of professional backgrounds, with different experiences across the industry. This diversity of views enables an objective approach and clear perspectives that help to support the organisations going through the process.

What Are the Benefits of the Scheme?

The Scheme provides detailed measures of quality for clients who use frameworks and framework alliances and for suppliers who bid for frameworks and framework alliances. It brings to life the support for the 24 Gold Standard recommendations that was voiced in the ‘Construction Playbook’ and its ‘Compact With Industry’.

Involvement in the Scheme provides a unique opportunity to agree and embed the mutual strategic commitments by which the construction industry and its clients can improve value, manage risks and avoid disputes. It helps them to establish affordable, shared approaches to achieve Net Zero Carbon.

The Scheme enables frameworks and framework alliances to demonstrate commitments to the 24 Gold Standard recommendations and to share examples of how to apply them. It drives positive change which will feed into case studies, training and the sharing of best practice.



What Are the Challenges?


How can we ensure that a sufficient pipeline of work is put through a framework to make it viable for suppliers? This is more challenging for some sectors than others. For example, government clients can secure their own pipelines whereas framework providers need to estimate a pipeline drawn from the expected needs of multiple clients.

Clients participating in a framework need to take a longer view by estimating rather than guaranteeing their future spend, and framework providers need to manage and aggregate the demand of multiple clients. These measures can build up more credible pipelines in the marketplace that enable contractors and suppliers to respond with innovative proposals that deliver economic, social and environmental value without the risks and fragmentation of lowest price tendering.

This longer view is trickier when public sector funding is released on a short-term basis. Tackling this issue will be also require changes at government level to adapt funding allocation, enabling clients to work on a long-term basis and develop more effective pipelines.

The How

The Gold Standard recommendations explain and illustrate the views of 120 clients, consultants and contractors on ‘what we all have to do’  to achieve better project outcomes.  The details of ‘how’ to go about these changes may vary but the principles remain that same. The challenge is supporting frameworks and framework alliances to find and use the tools that are available and that best implement the 24 Gold Standard recommendations. The Verification Scheme will gather evidence and showcase what compliant frameworks are doing in order to support others across the industry.


The Independent Verifiers gather evidence against the 24 Gold Standard recommendations in order to establish compliance. This is more demanding for some recommendations than others. For example, the recommendations that depend on tier 2/3 engagement through ‘Supply Chain Collaboration’ require framework providers and clients to look beyond their relationships with tier 1 contractors. Evidence will need to be considered, for example, as to what processes are in place to stimulate Supply Chain Collaboration, how the framework brings supply chain members together, what alliancing contracts are used and how a framework provider or client demonstrates best practice.

It could be that feedback from tier 2/ 3 supply chain members is beneficial in order to establish what benefits are flowing down under the Gold Standard, and that their views will help to inform adoption of those of the Gold Standard recommendations that look at early supply chain engagement, SMEs, social value, modern methods of construction and relationship management.


What Next?

The big question is…how will Verification Scheme findings be used to ensure that other framework providers and clients adopt Gold Standard processes and improve the performance of frameworks and framework alliances across the industry?

Sharing good practice will be the key to this, identifying the tools and strategies that can be used to support the implementation of the Gold Standard recommendations.

The Independent Verifiers will gather as much relevant evidence as possible to show what ‘good’ looks like and to demonstrate that compliance is achievable. Hopefully, the verified Gold Standard frameworks and framework alliances will become more sought after than those that do not comply, creating new norms for the better procurement, contracting and management practices that are endorsed in the Construction Playbook and supported by the construction industry.

Why Get Verified?

Within construction the client base and range of projects are fragmented, so when looking to procure, where should clients go? Good frameworks can provide the most effective route to achieve better project results, so it is important that those implementing good framework practices are recognised.

Transparent evidence of Gold Standard practices increases trust in frameworks and framework alliances – the statements and claims that all parties make to sell their services should be proven and reliable. The Verification Scheme enables good frameworks to provide the best routes to market.

Get Involved

If you enjoyed reading about our most recent Procurement Group session, why not join us for the next one? We’ll be hosting a joint event with the Innovation Exchange group on 13th May to explore ‘The Art of the Possible’.