Jenny Bowles highlights the importance in generating social value in construction.         

As we all know, nothing is as it was just a few short months ago. All sectors of business have been affected by Covid-19 and nowhere is that more obvious than construction. Like desolate scenes from a Sci-fi film, the empty sites and static cranes were an all too familiar scene in newspapers and TV reports. Thankfully, all that changed just a short time ago when the Scottish Government, with advice from Construction Scotland, started to slowly and carefully open sites with strict guidance on hygiene and isolation.

I’ve worked in the construction team in Scotland Excel for several years and I can’t remember a time when we’ve been so busy with enquiries from our members – both councils and housing associations, asking how they can use our frameworks to design, build and repair their social housing stock. It’s an exciting time as we all work to aid the UK economy recover, and it’s once again enforced my belief that collaborative public procurement is a force for good.

Happily, this is not only my belief but also that of the Scottish Government. In its 2019 Annual Procurement Report there was a clear call to public bodies to ensure that they are delivering tangible social value through their procurement.  With an annual spend of more than £4bn on building or civil engineering works, public procurement of construction is a key player. 

Scotland Excel is proud to be leaders in this area with a portfolio that exemplifies how additional social value can be delivered through the procurement of construction services. 

Fair Work Practices are a key component of our contracts with 83% of suppliers paying the Real Living Wage. Our Domestic Furnitures and Furnishings framework has directed £1m to third sector organisations delivering reuse goods and since 2018 our frameworks have delivered circa £500k of community benefits. This not only includes apprentices, full time employment and work placements but also backing to local communities through initiatives such as providing materials to support the Men’s Shed, providing meals for kids during school summer holidays and delivering goods to build mud kitchens for local primary schools and nurseries.

Scotland Excel’s recently launched New Build Residential Construction framework showcases best practice when it comes to delivering social value. The framework delivers benefits for local areas through sub-contracting, project bank accounts, employment and training opportunities, and has social value at its heart through community benefits, payment of the Real Living Wage and opportunities for supported businesses.

Importantly, Scotland Excel has demonstrated that delivering social value within construction does not come to the detriment of commerciality.  Since 2016 our construction portfolio has generated £25m of savings for our members and our New Build Residential Construction framework has the potential to save our members a further £5m per year.

For more information on the New Build Residential Construction framework and others, visit Scotland Excel’s website