This year’s first meeting of the UK Steel Council saw the Steel Procurement Taskforce present a report to highlight ways that the steel sector can become more competitive in the UK and globally.
The recommendations were outlined during the UK Steel Council’s meeting on 21 February, which brought together Government and representatives from the UK’s six major steel companies, trade unions and devolved administrations, with the goal of supporting the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future.
The Taskforce’s recommendations, outlined in their Final Report, aim to help the steel industry compete for major public projects by developing new technology, improving data, and promoting greater transparency.
For example, one recommendation found that enhancing data collection, such as on the origin of steel, and developing a digital products library, could help optimise steel procurement and help the industry to better position itself for success.
The Taskforce Final Report’s recommendations also included:
- Procurers engaging with the steel supply chain early in the buying process
- The Government setting a requirement for new contracts involving steel to report and record the origin of the steel
- The Government updating the steel Public Procurement Note to ensure it represents best practice
- Highlighting for public buyers the relevant methodology and tools that should be used when purchasing significant amounts of steel
- The UK steel industry exploring the future development of a ‘Steel Standard’
- Industry and The Government assessing the potential to use UK norms where harmonised standards do not exist when publishing the specification of steel required in public projects.
The Government says it will consider the Taskforce’s recommendations with the wider industry over the coming months.
Discussing the recommendations, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
“We know and recognise the critical role the steel industry plays in all areas of our economy, and the recommendations set out by the taskforce highlight ways we can achieve our shared objective of a thriving, competitive and open UK steel sector.
“Steel is a national strategic industry and we want to see the sector continue to win business both domestically and internationally over the long-term as it transitions to a low carbon future in a way that supports competitiveness, jobs and clean growth.”
Structural Fabrications Managing Director, Suj Kang, said: “Structural Fabrications welcomes the findings of the Steel Procurement Taskforce’s Final Report and is keen to work with steel procurers and contractors in a collaborative manner to find the best solutions possible for their projects.
“We are supporters of UK-based fabrication investment and believe working with homegrown suppliers is key to the future success of our industry.”