The government appears to have accepted that the UK needs a continuing investment in its transport, education, healthcare and other infrastructure if it is to be in a position to thrive as a modern economy. Yet the economic background is unfavourable in what looks like being at least a few more years of austerity as deficit reducing policies are followed.
The new Bribery Act is now in force, since 1 July, and although it was long trumpeted there still seems to be confusion about what it actually means. Backhanders, cash payments in brown envelopes, bungs etc, we can all easily conclude that they are unlawful. But what else might be?
Bad news for lawyers if the revolution hailed as resulting from implementing the government’s Construction Strategy (see News) comes to pass. No bespoke contracts, it is promised, only standardised contracts to be used throughout the supply chain. Bang goes a lot of workload.
Nobody involved in construction procurement expected anything other than a heavily critical report from the James Review on education capital investment (see News).
One of the most surprising things about expert witness immunity from suit, which has just been abolished by a majority decision of the Supreme Court, with two of the seven judges dissenting, is that it has never been challenged until now.
The Office of Fair Trading could expect no sympathy from the construction industry over the headline in the Times that announced the unprecedented cuts in fines imposed on six of the contractors found guilty of cover pricing: ‘Hammering for OFT as builder’s fines are slashed’ it thundered.
An important project examining what measures the construction industry has taken to avert accidents on a catastrophic scale has been carried out for the Health and Safety Executive by researchers from CIRIA and Loughborough University. The overall message is that much more needs to be done; the alarming conclusion though is that many who should know better are not doing anything.
Reform of the working of the private finance initiative (PFI) and related public private partnerships is expected at any time following an internal government review. It is badly needed, and it will not be easy. Since its introduction to the UK in 1992 by Chancellor Norman Lamont, PFI has been controversial.