Highways England is looking to engage with companies of all sizes who might be interested in working on the Lower Thames Crossing project.
We are engaging with the market at this stage of the project to ensure all interested suppliers are well prepared as we invite tenderers to submit a bid and they seek to begin forming their supply chains.
Can I get involved even if I’m a small or local business?
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a key role in developing the national economy by generating employment opportunities, accelerating innovation, broadening skill-sets and enhancing productivity. We want to ensure SMEs and local businesses play a key part in the project’s supply chain, and this is also in line with the Government’s aspiration of ensuring 33% of all procurement spend is with SMEs by the end of this Parliament (2021/2022).
The first stages of the procurement process focus on Tier 1 entities. A Tier 1 is a large multidiscipline organisation that has the capability to manage and deliver big projects or packages of work. Opportunities will follow for SMEs to bid for work on the project through the Tier 1 entities, though we have a few things SMEs can do to keep up to date and maximise their opportunities to win work on the Lower Thames Crossing.
SMEs can register to be included in the project’s SME directory, which will be used by Tier 1 contractors to build their supply chains.
They can also build their skills and knowledge, using the free training and resources from the project’s partnership with the Supply Chain School.
It is also important that SMEs (and companies of all sizes) register their interest on the Highways England procurement portal, Bravo, so they can:
- stay updated on the progress of the project, and receive information at the same time as everyone else who has registered interest
- get ready for when tenders go out
- provide their insight and opinions into the market engagement process, as it’s useful to hear information from some of the contractors who will actually be undertaking the works
We are developing a range of tools, guidance and workshops to support SMEs and local businesses that may be seeking opportunities to work as part of the Lower Thames Crossing supply chain. Our aim for this work is to develop local business and SME capabilities and skills to bid for work on the Lower Thames Crossing and other future infrastructure contracts. We will post updates about opportunities to get involved through Bravo, Twitter, Facebook and the Lower Thames Crossing website in the future.
Supply Chain School
One way we are supporting local businesses, particularly SMEs, is through our partnership with the Supply Chain School.
The Supply Chain School can help upskill your business, putting you in the best position to tender for work on the project – skills that will assist in other areas as well. This will help your business grow and leaves a legacy of a more capable, dynamic and sustainable supply chain. It also helps us keep more of the investment from the project within the local economy.
You can register your business for the school and take modules on topics that will provide a firm basis for working on a major piece of infrastructure. We will also offer workshops, run periodically with a focus on supply chain gaps and areas that may require particular attention (tendering; certification to get onto projects etc).
Register for the Supply Chain School and start developing your business’ capabilities at Supply Chain Sustainability School.
We have run five introductory events across Essex and Kent – to introduce local businesses to the school and to learn where support may be most needed. We are also developing workshops to focus on particular topics that will support SMEs grow the skills we hope to see in the project’s supply chain.
Slides from the October 2019 Essex event and videos about the initiative are available below.
We arranged another event in August 2020, with updates about the project, procurement processes and time-frames, and details about the Learning Pathways we developed with the Supply Chain School and further supports we are putting in place for SMEs hoping to win work on the Lower Thames Crossing.
You can view a recording of this event, which took place online, through the Supply Chain School website.
Lower Thames Crossing: Supply Chain Sustainability School
Follow the steps below to register:
- Visit highways.bravosolution.co.uk and click ‘Register‘ (on the far right)
- Enter your business details, take note of the username you choose, and click ‘Save’ when complete
- Once you reach a page titled Categories, you can leave the site and you will receive an email with your password
- Log into highways.bravosolution.co.uk with your new username and password
- Click on ‘ITTs Open to All Suppliers’ (Invitations to Tender) and select the ITT you want to express interest in, or you can select ITT 4336 – General Information
- You will be able to read documents and information in your area of interest
- Click the ‘Express Interest’ button to register your interest
- This will move the ITT into the ‘My ITTs’ page where you can also access ‘Buyer Attachments’ in the ITT Details box
If you have any technical issues or questions about using the Bravo portal, please contact Bravo:
- Phone: 0800 069 8630
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org