Kent County Council has been forced to delay tendering for renewal of its £500m highways services contract due to the COVID pandemic.
The council blamed constraints caused by Covid-19, which made it more difficult to cost provision of services in the county. Kent has one of the largest and busiest road networks in the country with more than 5,000 miles of roads, making tendering a complex undertaking.
The decision means that incumbent contractor Amey will see its existing £500m deal extended by up to two years or £115m in revenue terms. Amey won the 10-year highways maintenance deal back in September 2011, beating May Gurney and Colas.
Kent has one of the largest and busiest road networks in the country
Kent council said the extension past September 2021, would be for no more than two years, with April 2023 set as the provisional new date.
A council spokesperson said “This extension of the current contract is essential to ensure that all potential future providers can submit bids for the long term opportunity on a fair and more certain basis when they have the time and opportunity to access the information that the incumbent holds and take other necessary steps under that procurement free from lockdown/Covid-19 restrictions and uncertainties”.
Although the pandemic has only been going on for 6 months, it is strange that the council are going to give a 2 year extension. You would have assumed that any new provider would have already done a lot of preparation work in the knowledge that the contract was close to its renewal date.