Big Net Zero Contract Win For Small Cornish Business

A small Cornish company has purportedly won a £70bn contract to help deliver the country’s transition to Net Zero. The Penzance based company called The Place Group has won a framework contract to “control, manage and deliver” the public sector transition to Everything Net Zero, run by The East of England Broadband Network (E2BN), the contracting authority who are putting in place a framework agreement for use by UK public sector bodies, including schools, colleges and universities NHS organisations, local authorities, fire and police services, and more.

The Place Group, a “specialist consulting, project management and research company” will oversee the framework for services, products, solutions, and support for the Net Zero project.

The company positions itself as having “a strong track record of developing winning school applications…. Trusts and schools will be developing their environment strategies ready to meet decarbonisation targets and reach net zero carbon across their estates by 2030 and longer-term 2050 under the Climate Change Act.”

This four-year contract  was won after a restricted tender process for such areas as reducing all emissions, especially carbon, increasing the use of sustainable resources, improving recycling, exploiting greener technologies and innovation, and greener use of water, electricity, gas, oils, and other fuels including hydrogen, battery and nuclear, and greener transportation.

The Place Group would be responsible for supporting and project managing these initiatives and wouldn’t receive the total fees, most of the fees would be passed on to their sub-contractors, with Place charging for their own work. However, the contract was let after only one bid and to a supplier doesn’t have the scale to manage contracts that will run into the billions.

It seems likely that this is a bit of a storm in a teacup, a questionable procurement with little or no real impact, but it really does show what a mess our procurement data is. Too often the valuations for framework are nothing more than ‘finger in the air’ guesses and this is just a particularly egregious example of it. More needs to be done to ensure that procurement publishing is properly managed.

The Government’s strategy for reaching net zero emissions was revealed last year, with ministers saying it would create up to 440k jobs and in the next decade.

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