Mace decides against HS2 legal challenge over £170m contract

Mace has decided not to mount a legal challenge over the £170m HS2 phase two delivery partner contract that led to the winning bidder, CH2M, withdrawing their bid after potential conflicts of interest were raised.

Mace has been heavily critical of the procurement process for the contract, describing it as “seriously flawed” after a whistleblower alerted Mace to the possibility of a conflict of interest regarding HS2’s former chief of staff Chris Reynolds. Mace said that the subsequent ongoing investigation regarding their concerns about conflict of interest had “clearly raised some serious questions about the process”.

The transport select committee meeting last month heard written evidence from Mace, claiming HS2 had “consistently misled taxpayers” and that the scoring of the bids for the £170m contract “was geared to favour CH2M” and also to “to favour American companies”.

A Mace spokesperson said: “Despite the flawed process, we have decided that the importance of the scheme to the national interest, particularly the north of England, outweighs our drive for taking action. It is imperative that HS2 now focus their attention on delivering this essential project both on time and in budget.”

The Mace spokesperson said that they believed that the recent transport select committee “vindicated” Mace's position. “We take some comfort from the knowledge that HS2 has conceded its failings and will introduce more stringent processes for future procurement,” the Mace spokesperson said. “We will be meeting with the secretary of state for transport shortly to ensure he fully understands our perspective, and to seek further reassurances on how the process will be improved going forward.”

US firm Bechtel will deliver the £170m phase 2b development partner contract for HS2. Bechtel came second in the original procurement process for the section of track which covers construction of the Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds lines.

HS2 said that it remained confident that their processes were “fair and robust”.


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