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Common Assessment Standard becomes new industry benchmark

28 May 2024

THE CABINET Office has issued Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 03/24, replacing PPN 03/23 and introducing updates to the Selection Questionnaire (SQ) and accompanying statutory guidance for use in public procurement.

This development signals a pivotal shift in procurement practices, mandating the adoption of the Common Assessment Standard (CHAS Elite) by contracting authorities in the public sector.

As of its release, all contracting authorities can assess their supply chains using the Common Assessment Standard (CHAS Elite), with usage mandatory from 27 June 2024.

The update means that contractors not already accredited to the Common Assessment Standard (CHAS Elite) seeking to engage with the public sector has a month to complete their assessments. 

Why the Common Assessment Standard matters

The Common Assessment Standard (CHAS Elite), launched in 2019, offers a comprehensive industry-led questionnaire covering crucial topics such as Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Data Protection, Equality & Diversity, Financial Information, Modern Slavery, and Quality Corporate Social Responsibility, among others. Positioned as the elite pre-qualification standard for construction procurement, it is increasingly being specified by organisations in the private sector for their supply chains.

This prioritisation of the Common Assessment Standard within PPN 03/24 aligns with government initiatives to elevate compliance standards in public supply chains and derive greater social value from public expenditure.

Urgent action required

Contractors currently engaged or intending to engage with the public sector must promptly seek accreditation to the Common Assessment Standard to ensure they remain competitive and avoid missing out on opportunities. With less than three months until the new rules take effect, swift action is essential.

Meanwhile, by 27 June 2024 contracting authorities must ensure all contractors are accredited to the Common Assessment Standard (CHAS Elite). 

Why Choose Veriforce CHAS?

Veriforce CHAS, the pioneer in carrying out Common Assessment Standard accreditation in the UK, stands out as the preferred accreditation provider. Renowned for its market-leading customer service and impressive member benefits, Veriforce CHAS is adept at ensuring a seamless accreditation process for contractors looking to get accredited to the Common Assessment Standard. What’s more, contracting authorities and private sector clients can quickly find contractors accredited to the Common Assessment Standard via the free CHAS Client Portal.

Awarded the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award for an impressive fifth consecutive year, Veriforce CHAS is committed to delivering exceptional customer service. With a dedicated team accessible via phone, they provide unparalleled support, a distinguishing factor from competitors.

Moreover, Veriforce CHAS offers a plethora of member benefits, with exclusive offers such as discounted e-learning resources, free legal advice, discounted van leasing or purchase, and tailored business insurance that rewards responsible contractors. Many members find the savings derived from their member benefits are so extensive that they more than offset the cost of their accreditation. 

“The whole team at Veriforce CHAS is mobilised and ready to assist contractors to upgrade to CHAS Elite and the Common Assessment Standard as quickly as possible”, says Ian McKinnon, Managing Director of Veriforce CHAS and an industry veteran. “We know how important this is to the construction industry and to the UK Government, and as the pioneer who first got behind CAS, we are best placed to help the sector raise its game rapidly to meet this challenge.”

What's New in PPN 03/24?

Notable changes from PPN 03/23 to 03/24 include:

Adoption of Common Assessment Standard (CAS): CAS replaces PAS 91, serving as the new streamlined and enhanced framework for pre-qualifying suppliers. All references to PAS 91 have been removed following its withdrawal by BSI

Revision of Selection Questions: Updates have been made to the standard selection questions, particularly focusing on payment practices and steel sourcing to align with current industry standards.

Clarity on considering bids from Russian/Belarusian Suppliers: New guidelines offer clarity on evaluating bids

Adaptation for E-Procurement: The Selection Questionnaire (SQ) template has been adjusted to better integrate with new e-procurement platforms

Contracting authorities and private sector entities seeking responsible contractors can utilise the CHASClient Portal, a free resource facilitating the quick and easy identification of accredited contractors based on specific criteria.

CHAS managing director Ian McKinnon adds: The changes introduced in updated Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 03/24 are good news for the huge number of CHAS Contractors already qualified to the Common Assessment Standard (CHAS Elite) who will now have access to an even wider range of work. 

“However if you're a contractor not yet accredited to the Common Assessment Standard, there’s no time to lose. This isn't just about meeting new public sector requirements but also ensuring compliance with private sector standards, which are increasingly aligned with the Common Assessment Standard.

“Contact CHAS today to find out how our award-winning customer service team can help bring you up to speed.” 

For more information, visit www.chas.co.uk