The road to Net Zero in the public sector


With Glasgow hosting the COP26 summit, the eyes of the world have been focused on the UK Government and the environmental promises it has made to help achieve Net Zero.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out a number of commitments for the UK, and has pointed to the public sector as being at the heart of Britain’s ambitions for Net Zero. The already established public estate can go a huge way to contributing towards these goals, while new construction and infrastructure will be developed in line with Net Zero targets.

But what does this mean for the public sector?

It is without doubt that green commitments will filter down from government throughout the supply chain. Government has already stated that any supplier bidding for a public sector contract over £5M must have a Net Zero policy in place. While a £5M contract might not be within your bidding range, main contractors are sure to put green policies in place for the supply chain to meet.

During the conference of world leaders, a number of initiatives were announced:

The UK’s greenest prison has been unveiled

The new prison at Glen Parva, Leicestershire, is the greenest ever as the government moves towards operating at Net Zero in the future.

This major infrastructure project will act as a blueprint for the government’s ambitious prison-build programme, which will create 20,000 modern, rehabilitative places by the mid-2020s. The programme is backed by unprecedented funding of £3.8Bn, as confirmed in the Spending Review.

The new prison has been largely built off-site using cutting-edge technology – speeding up construction and minimising waste. Rubble from the old, demolished prison on the Glen Parva site has been reused, while the project will use green energy including more than 960 solar panels and infrastructure for electric vehicle charging points.

Zero-emission HGVs by 2040

The UK will become the first country in the world to commit to phasing out new, non-zero-emission heavy goods vehicles weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035, with all new HGVs sold in the UK to be zero-emission by 2040.

New electric vehicle chargepoints

The government is also unveiling a new design for electric vehicle chargepoints, which could become as iconic as the Great British postbox, London bus or black cab. Showcased in the UK Pavilion at COP26 and designed together with the Royal College of Art and PA Consulting, the concept prioritises inclusivity and ease of use, designed with consumers, local government, accessibility groups and industry.

Small Modular Reactors

Some £195M will be invested in the Rolls-Royce Small Modular Reactor (SMR), to bring forward and deliver at scale the next generation of low-cost, low-carbon nuclear power technology.

Nine-tenths of an individual Rolls-Royce SMR power plant will be built or assembled in factory conditions and around 80% could be delivered by a UK supply chain – a unique offering within energy infrastructure in the UK.

A single Rolls-Royce SMR power station will occupy the footprint of two football pitches and power approximately one million homes. It can support both on-grid electricity and a range of off-grid clean energy solutions, enabling the decarbonisation of industrial processes and the production of clean fuels, such as sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and green hydrogen, to support energy transition in the wider heat and transportation sectors.

South Humber Bank Energy Centre

Development of the South Humber Bank Energy Centre has been given the green light. This Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project comprises the construction and operation of an energy from waste plant of up to 95 megawatts gross capacity.

Tracker can help you find opportunities and plan your growth strategy. As we’ve discussed the opportunities for innovations in green technology and improving the credentials of the supply chain are readily available.

Book a free demo with one of our experienced advisers today to discuss where the new opportunities exist and how to find them and stand out from the crowd using the tracker platform.

UK accelerates towards net zero

As Glasgow prepares to host the UN COP26 summit, the UK has set out its strategy to deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The UK Net Zero Strategy outlines measures aimed at building a green and sustainable future, helping businesses and consumers to move to clean power, supporting hundreds of thousands of well-paid jobs and leveraging up to £90Bn of private investment by 2030.

Building on the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan, the recently revealed Net Zero Strategy sets out a comprehensive economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology – lowering Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy in the UK, reducing the risk of high and volatile prices in the future, and strengthening our energy security.

New investment announced as part of the strategy includes:

  • An extra £350M of a £1Bn commitment to support the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains plus another £620M for targeted electric vehicle grants and infrastructure, particularly local on-street residential charge points.
  • The commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) made from sustainable materials.
  • £140M Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme to accelerate industrial carbon capture and hydrogen, bridging the gap between industrial energy costs from gas and hydrogen and helping green hydrogen projects get off the ground.
  • An extra £500M towards innovation projects to develop the green technologies of the future. This will support the most pioneering ideas and technologies to decarbonise homes, industries, land and power.
  • Some £3.9Bn of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings, including the new £450M three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme, so homes and buildings are warmer, cheaper to heat and cleaner to run.
  • £124M for the Nature for Climate Fund to help restore approximately 280,000 hectares of peat in England by 2050 and treble woodland creation in England.
  • £120M towards the development of nuclear projects through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund.

More than £5.8Bn of foreign investment in green projects has also been secured since the launch of the Ten Point Plan, along with at least 56,000 jobs in the UK’s clean energy industries.

As the first major economy to commit in law to net zero by 2050, and as host of the imminent UN COP26 climate summit, the UK is leading international efforts and setting the bar for countries around the world to follow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK’s path to ending our contribution to climate change will be paved with well-paid jobs, billions in investment and thriving green industries – powering our green industrial revolution across the country.

“By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way.

“With the major climate summit COP26 just around the corner, our strategy sets the example for other countries to build back greener too as we lead the charge towards global net zero.”

The strategies build on an ambitious set of existing policies: the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Energy White Paper, North Sea Transition Deal, Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, Transport Decarbonisation Plan, and the Hydrogen Strategy – the recent landmark commitment to decarbonise the UK’s electricity system by 2035.

Click here for the full Net Zero Strategy and the Heat and Buildings Strategy.

Tracker can help you find opportunities and plan your growth strategy. As can be seen from the investment figures, opportunities for innovations in green technology and improving the credentials of the supply chain are readily available.

Come along to our latest Tracker Talks webinar – Tackling the Global Climate Emergency – insights and opportunities for public sector suppliers – where we discuss where the new opportunities exist that support the climate change agenda and how to access them. Suppliers who understand the challenges buyers face and can deliver innovative, sustainable solutions will be successful.

Find out more and save your seat >

£650Bn infrastructure and construction investment announced

The UK Government has announced £650Bn of investment through its National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline. 

In the most ambitious pipeline to date, the Government has set out how billions of pounds worth of private and public investment in infrastructure and construction projects will be directed across the country over the next decade. 

The planned investment will create new opportunities for thousands of apprentices, technicians, graduates and skilled workers. 

Some £89Bn of investment will be targeted to social infrastructure to help communities, resulting in 165 education projects worth £2.5Bn, including major rebuilding projects at schools and sixth form colleges. 

In total, the pipeline sets out: 

  • £254Bn Economic Infrastructure (Public) 
  • £208Bn Private Investment (across all sectors)  
  • £97Bn Regulated Utilities  
  • £89Bn Social Infrastructure (Public) 

The pipeline shows a range of 528 projects across all sectors, including housing and regeneration, education, energy, flood defence, home office, justice, science and research, transport, and waste. 

Education ranks as the sector with the highest number of projects and procurements at 165, with an estimated minimum contract value of £2,408.1M. 

Transport comes in as the second highest sector with 132 procurements, 19 projects and 113 programmes – here the estimated minimum contract value is £14,806.3M. 

The top five contracts by value all fall within the transport sector. Contracts for massive infrastructure developments such as HS2, Lower Thames Crossing and Stonehenge Bypass all feature. 

Construction work including building, design & build and civil engineering makes up over two-thirds of the works opportunities available to the market in 2021/22. Of the remaining estimated contract value, £0.8Bn to £1.1Bn is for architectural, engineering and design services, while £2.9Bn to £5Bn is for repair and maintenance services. 

In line with the response from industry, for the first time, the Government is setting out the extent to which new work will include elements delivered through modern methods of construction (MMC). Of the contracts included within the procurement section of the pipeline, over 170 with an estimated capital value ranging between £15.4Bn and £22.4Bn are planned to utilise some form of MMC. 

With Government investment guaranteed over the coming years, now is the time to exploit these opportunities and research tender awards. Tracker can help you find your opportunities in your marketplace. 

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Construction Sector Update: September 2021

Figures from the ONS and IHS Markit/CIPS show that while the construction sector has continued to grow throughout the summer, the resurgence is being held back by severe supply chain disruption and an increase in prices.

Monthly statistics over the summer period have already suggested that materials supply was creating a bottle-neck in the construction sector, and these latest figures show the problem is now having a serious effect on output.

ONS reports fall

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics report a fall in growth for construction over the latest period. Construction output fell by 1.6% in volume terms in July 2021, with these latest figures putting construction at below pre-pandemic levels.

Businesses reported that price increases and product shortages due to supply chain issues are the main reasons for the decline. This is now the fourth consecutive decline in monthly construction output.

Infrastructure has been the main driver of growth since the pandemic, and this sector continued to perform well, now returning £649M above its February 2020 levels.

Meanwhile, private housing has shown the biggest falls in work. Again, evidence points to price rises and shortages of materials as the main contributors to the loss.

Alongside the monthly drop in output, the three-monthly figure registered its first fall since February 2021, at -0.6%.

PMI points to supply chain

Slower growth across a number of construction sectors contributed to the slowdown, which was the slowest since February, according to the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI® Total Activity Index.

Many companies in construction noted sustained, and severe, supply chain disruption in August, which contributed to an accelerated rise in input prices – one that was the second fastest in the history of the survey.

This month’s Index posted 55.2 in August, down from 58.7 in July, showing that construction has bounced back from lockdown with rises in output in each of the last seven months. However, the rate of increase this month dropped as the widely reported issues with supply of materials and transport began to weigh on overall construction activity.

Businesses noted that while projects that had been delayed due to Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic were now commencing, supply issues and associated price rises were not helping client confidence.

Price hikes

As projects hit the ground, demand for construction materials continues to stretch supply chains. Reports from both the PMI survey and ONS suggest that ongoing material shortages were being made worse by a lack of transport and freight availability, compounding existing issues related to the supply of materials due to port congestions and demand and supply imbalances.

Materials most affected in price are concrete, fuel, steel, glass and timber.

While there is still strong demand for construction projects, with businesses gaining confidence for the rest of the year, growth is being stymied by the volatile price and supply situation.

Take a look around opportunities in Tracker

To make the most of new opportunities, get in touch with Tracker for your 1:1 consultation.

Our own market reports tell us that contracts are still being published in high numbers and at high values, with plenty of opportunities for SMEs.

Tracker and BiP Solutions are here to help you step into the market with advice on procurement policy, supporting you to find the procurement opportunities most relevant to you.

Why not take a look at the latest local government, central government and education tender opportunities today? You can also find out what your competitors are winning in these areas and understand the shape and size of their frameworks and DPS opportunities, both past and present. Our free trial allows you to do just that with no obligation.

Take a look at what you could be missing today. Start your free trial >

Autumn 2021 Budget Announced

The Chancellor has set the date for his next budget, when Government spending plans for the next three years will be revealed.

The results of the Spending Review and plans for public spending will be announced on 27October.

The Chancellor will announce the UK Government’s spending priorities for the remainder of this Parliament, with the three-year review setting out central government departments’ resource and capital budgets for 2022-23 to 2024-25 and the devolved administrations’ block grants for the same period.

Funding boost

Together with the additional funding for health and social care announced in early September, core departmental spending will grow in real terms at nearly 4% per year on average over this Parliament. By 2024-25 core departmental spending will be £140 billion more per year in cash terms than at the start of the Parliament.

As part of his announcement, the Chancellor set the envelope for spending over the next three years:

  • Core day-to-day departmental spending will follow the path set out at Spring Budget 2021.
  • In total, day-to-day spending will increase to £440 billion by 2024-25, increasing by nearly £100 billion per year in cash terms over the life of this Parliament.
  • A step-change in capital investment will be delivered, as set out at Budget 2021. This will see an investment of over £600 billion over five years, the highest sustained level of public sector net investment as a proportion of GDP since the late 1970s.


With ambitious plans for an infrastructure and innovation revolution, investment will see more contracts brought to market. So, this is an ideal time to look at your plans to supply to the public sector.

Make sure you have the right information and help prepare your bids with key information from Tracker.

​The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: “Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve delivered on an unprecedented scale to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods.

“Despite the worst economic recession in 300 years, we have not only got people back into work through the Plan for Jobs but continued to deliver on the priorities of the British people.

“At the Spending Review later this year, I will set out how we will continue to invest in public services and drive growth while keeping the public finances on a sustainable path.”

Best value

Given the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy, the Chancellor wants to focus on ensuring every pound of taxpayer funding is well spent, to deliver the highest quality services to the public at the best value. Best value has been at the heart of public procurement for many years, and the latest NPPS [link to previous blog] has underpinned this, along with social value and green credentials. Improving and diversifying the supply chain is an important component in improving value as well as bringing innovation to the public sector.

Find out about new contract notices first and prepare your bids with tailored advice from Tracker. Start your free trial >

Regulatory Reform – cutting red tape to make it easier to tender

The second webinar in our series on procurement, discussed how the new reforms to public procurement will make it easier for suppliers to tender for contracts.

Procurement experts Eddie Regan and Phil Kinnell of PASS – the Procurement Advice and Support Service talked with Dawn McTaggart about how the legislation is proposing to help suppliers bring innovation to the public sector marketplace.

Leaving the European Union has allowed the UK Government to look at the current regulations and consider changes that will make public sector procurement more streamlined and efficient, measured against government targets.

These reforms will bring the single greatest change to the procurement regulations in decades. In this session, our experts look at what this will mean for your business and how you can prepare.

Why do you need to know about the public procurement rules?

Government spends some £290 billion on public procurement every year, and this spending will be leveraged to help drive the UK’s economic recovery following the pandemic and lockdown. Procurement has a role to play in achieving government aims such as opening up public contracts to more small businesses and social enterprises, innovating in public service delivery, and meeting the net zero carbon target by 2050.

With government already committed to ensuring 33% by value of its contracts go to SMEs, there is a massive opportunity for those who have never supplied to the public sector to become part of the marketplace.

What’s changing?

While it is important for you to get to grips with these new procurement changes from the outset, many of the changes will be beneficial to the supply market.

  • The proposal to move from four sets of regulations to one consolidated set will certainly make it easier to understand what the rules require, and the removal of up to 350 regulations will help simplify the process.
  • The creation of a single digital platform will make it easier for suppliers to tender for contracts, with just one form to fill in for all public sector work.
  • There will be changes to framework agreements, and buyers will be required to publish pipelines for future work.
  • New principles of public procurement will simplify procedures for suppliers, making contracts more competitive and attractive to suppliers while building in flexibility for buyers.
  • There will be greater transparency in public procurement, giving suppliers the ability to question buyers’ decisions and create stronger bids for future work.

When to expect these changes

Listening to our experts, these changes won’t be seen overnight. Even with the unexpected release of the NPPS [link to last talks blog] in June, any new processes will take time to bed in and become workable. It is expected that the changes will be brought to Parliament during the next session, meaning any changes are unlikely to happen before spring 2022. Development of the Single Digital Platform itself will be a three-stage process, anticipated to take two to three years.

Top Tips

  1. Educate – Read about the proposed changes. With our research indicating that only a small number of suppliers know about the proposed changes, just listening to webinars such as the Tracker Talks series can give you the edge.
  2. Add – Think about your future plans and how you could give your tenders the edge. The NPPS calls for added social value; what can you do to add social, economic or environmental value?
  3. Plan The requirement to publish pipelines will help you plan your tender bids and business growth. By being aware of future commitments, you can develop your business to meet requirements.
  4. Invest – By investing in market insight and your tender applications, you can create a winning formula.

Tracker and BiP Solutions are here to help you step into the market with advice on procurement policy, supporting you to find the procurement opportunities most relevant to you.

Take a look around opportunities in Tracker

Why not take a look at the latest local government, central government and education tender opportunities today? You can also find out what your competitors are winning in these areas and understand the shape and size of their frameworks and DPS opportunities, both past and present. Our free trial allows you to do just that with no obligation.

Take a look at what you could be missing today. Start your free trial >

UK Government is changing its procurement policies: here’s what you need to know

Procurement policy changes have been making headline news since the transition period for leaving the European Union came to a close in December last year.

With the UK having left the EU, the door is open for the Government to implement its own policies and targets through its contract sourcing.

What you need to know

The Government is looking to make substantial changes to UK procurement policy, and is currently considering responses to its Green Paper Consultation.

The consultation was launched in December 2020, with the Government asking UK organisations to comment upon proposed changes which seek to overhaul the processes at the very heart of public procurement.

When will the new policies come into force?

New rules and regulations for procurement are expected to come this year, with the National Procurement Policy Statement already being published.

What is the National Procurement Policy Statement?

June 2021 saw the announcement of a new National Procurement Policy Statement (NPPS). The statement urges all central government organisations, local authorities, NHS Trusts and police departments to consider the potential wider benefits to the community when initiating a project that involves the spending of public money.

The NPPS “sets out the national priorities that all contracting authorities should have regard to in their procurement where it is relevant to the subject matter of the contract and it is proportionate to do so”.

The statement requires all contracting authorities to consider their organisational capability and capacity, with regard to the procurement skills and resources required to deliver value for money.

You can read the National Procurement Policy Statement along with accompanying guidance here.

How can you take advantage of the policy changes?

As the old adage goes: ‘the early bird gets the worm’. When it comes to public sector procurement, it couldn’t be more true. The best advantage a supplier can achieve from the procurement policy updates is to ensure that they tailor their bid to demonstrate compliance with any and all changes that the buyer highlights as important to them.
Engaging early with buyers to enquire how best to respond to bids in light of recent policy changes not only helps establish relationships, but also allows the supplier to help shape the bid. Buyers cannot, by nature, be experts in every type of product or service they procure – as such, specialist suppliers have an opportunity to help buyers ensure their bid requirements match industry standards.

Government procurement spend is currently £290 billion across the UK public sector, with contracts ranging from multimillion-pound deals to much smaller lots suitable for SMEs.

Procurement has a role to play in achieving the Government’s aims, such as opening up public contracts to more small businesses and social enterprises, innovating in public service delivery, and meeting the net zero carbon target by 2050.

Through our own research and data (see our Transforming Public Procurement Response Paper), we can report that there is broad approval of the need for change within the procurement of public sector goods, services and works. However, a number of reservations and complications are envisaged by both buyers and suppliers, making the need for consultation all the greater.

With the Government committed to ensuring 33% by value of its contracts go to SMEs, there is a need for both sides to come together to drive better value and innovation across the sector.

Next steps

The opportunity exists for wider collaboration to ensure public procurement sets the standard for the country’s future needs.

One thing that will be highly important, however, is that clear guidance must follow any changes proposed, to ensure that everyone has a full understanding of what can and cannot be done when applying the new regulations.
Be prepared and keep up to date with guidance as changes can happen, fast.

Tracker is hosting a series of ‘Tracker Talks’ webinars, where we speak to procurement experts to provide you with advice on how to make the most of public sector opportunities – you can catch up with previous webinars and watch at your leisure with our on-demand procurement webinars.

Take a look around opportunities in Tracker

Why not take a look at the latest local government, central government and education tender opportunities today? You can also find out what your competitors are winning in these areas and understand the shape and size of their frameworks and DPS opportunities, both past and present. Our free trial allows you to do just that with no obligation.

Take a look at what you could be missing today. Request a free personalised demo>