The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) is undertaking a Review of the dispute resolution procedures in the public works contracts (the Review). As part of the Review we are seeking expressions of interest to participate in the Review of the operation of the roles of Standing Conciliator and the Project Board. If you have past and/or current experience and working knowledge of the roles of the Standing Conciliator and the Project Board, the OGP would like to hear from you.

Initially, we are seeking expressions of interest to participate in a survey and interview as part of the primary research stage (Stage 1) of the Review.  The survey and interviews will be carried out by Indecon International Consultants on behalf of the OGP and all contributions will remain anonymous.  Those submitting an expression of interest should ideally be or have been*

– Appointed to the role of Standing Conciliator
– An Employer/Employer’s Personnel
– A Contractor/Contractor’s Personnel
– An Employer’s Representative (ER)
– A Contractor’s Representative/Contract Manager/Project Manager
– A Design Team Consultant
– Appointee to a Project Board

*On projects where the works stage has been ongoing for at least 12 months

If you are interested in participating in this survey and interview and possess the relevant experience as outlined above, please notify us of your expression of interest via the link: here.

The closing date for expressions of interest is Friday 15 January 2021.

 Background of the Review 

The Standing Conciliator role and the Project Board were introduced in 2016 in response to the Office of Government Procurement’s ‘Report on the Performance Review of the Public Works Contract’ in 2014.  The report sets out a series of interim recommendations for the procurement of public works projects under the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF), including:

– The introduction of an informal dispute resolution process at senior management level within the respective organisations that are parties to the Contract – the Project Board – for the purpose of reviewing disputes with the intent of reaching a resolution.

– The introduction of a Standing Conciliator for pre-dispute management purposes, in order to encourage proper engagement between the Parties and assist in the avoidance of disputes.

More detailed information is available in the OGP’s CWMF Guidance Note 3.1.1 on dispute resolution.

 Engagement of Consultants 

Indecon International Consultants have been appointed by the OGP to undertake an investigation of the current operation of the Project Board and the Standing Conciliator role.  The investigation will involve gathering empirical data from industry practitioners involved in public works projects where Standing Conciliators and Project Boards have been appointed.  This research constitutes Stage 1 of the Review.  The data gathered will be collated and analysed by Indecon Consultants who will then, at the end of Stage 1, prepare a report for the OGP setting out conclusions and recommendations.  It is the intention of the OGP to publish a summary of all findings and recommendations along with a position paper on dispute resolution under the public works contracts during Stage 2 of the Review.

Methodology

– Stage 1

The research is programmed to take place over a 12-month period commencing in December 2020.

Phase 1 – Structuring:
During this phase a database of possible survey and interview participants will be compiled in order to aid in the design of the sampling methodology.  It should be noted that not all who express an interest in participating in the research may be contacted.

Phase 2 – Gathering the Empirical Data:
During this phase an international practice review will take place.  The survey design will be finalised prior to the initiation of research fieldwork, concluding with interviews with participants selected from the expressions of interest.  Phases 1 and 2 are scheduled to be completed within the first 6 months of the programme.

Phase 3 – Analysing Empirical Data:
The empirical data collected from the research, surveys and interviews will be analysed and reported to the OGP during Phase 3.

Phase 4 – Reporting:
In this last phase of Stage 1, all detailed conclusions and recommendations will be formulated and reviewed prior to Indecon Consultants issuing their final report to the OGP.  This will conclude the involvement of Indecon Consultants in the Review.

– Stage 2 

Stage 2 will be carried out by the OGP in conjunction with the Government Construction Contracts Committee (GCCC). It will involve the evaluation of the data and recommendations reported from Stage 1 and conducting further analysis, if necessary, before publishing a position paper and thereafter considering policy amendments to the dispute resolution provisions in the suite of public works contracts.

Please be advised that participants can withdraw from the Review at any point.

If you have any queries please contact publicworkscontractsreview@per.gov.ie