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CLC Playbook – Emperor's new clothes?

30 March 2021
As we left the year 2020 there were many news events competing for our attention which may have led to this Government publication not getting the attention it should possibly deserve. In this article, Ian Cooper reviews the CLC Playbook and the impact it could have on the future of the industry.

The construction industry has been in desperate need for Government to step up and deal with some of the ongoing issues in need of action and legislation.

Whilst this publication is only guidance, does it provide a vehicle for movement in the right direction?

The start is not good. The cover states the playbook is guidance "on sourcing and contracting public works projects and programmes". What about the rest of the industry?

Maybe the guidance is the result of co-ordinated cross industry expertise? The playbook has been co-developed and endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and wider industry. The latter comprises 50 signatories from CEO's, Presidents, Directors and Chairs across the construction industry. 

Reading into the guidance the theme is quickly established. The format consists of commentary and questions on the particular subject, with the obligatory delivery model diagrams, and finished with reference to existing relevant Government guidance notes.

There is no evidence of any development content produced by 'wider industry' which would therefore appear to be more aligned to an endorsement.

You may by now have got the impression I am somewhat underwhelmed by this publication and you will be correct.

The cost of this publication could have been directed towards a much improved outcome had it been an instruction to industry specialists with a remit to deliver real improvements as opposed to re-assembling existing guidance.

A great example of this is last year's McKinsey report "The next normal in construction: How disruption is reshaping the world's largest ecosystem." which is engaging from the get-go, recognising construction as the largest industry in the global economy and yet historically evidencing its continuing underperformance.

Alternatively, reference the existing public sector frameworks of which Scape and Pagabo are two good examples. These are actively managed frameworks, utilising leading industry contractors and consultants, with not just a track record of project and value delivery but also real local community involvement and sustainable outcomes. 

And then this week we have Mace informing Government of the need for a radical transformation in how our industry operates including the setting up of regional MMC hubs.

In comparison we have the CLC Playbook, focused on public procurement, limited developed content from the wider industry, and re-surfacing of existing guidance information.

When you read industry figures referencing this Playbook as the answer to the future of the construction industry – remember the Emperor's new clothes!

If you would like to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact Ian Cooper.

Further Reading