Public accountants told to be vigilant

Public accountants told to be vigilant

Government accounting officers have been urged to be 'more vigilant' in ensuring proposed building projects are not deliberately under-estimated in order to improve their chances of going ahead.

The demand came from Commons watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee, in a new attempt to curb continual cost over-runs, delays and litigation with contractors.

MPs also urged departments not to go for the lowest estimate from contractors who planned to bump up profits with contract cost variation claims and instead look for value for money over the whole operational life of a building by securing measurable quality improvements.

And they called on departments to consider longer-term partnering deals – subject to safeguards and periodic re-tendering – as another means of securing quality, faster construction times and financial savings.

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