Deliver Better Together: For our Communities
3 Aug 2022
Group Compliance and Performance Director
At Pick Everard, we work to be a positive force within society. Our job is not just to deliver great projects, it is to provide communities with the high-quality assets in which to live, work, learn, and play – and to create a lasting positive impact to the community at large through wider initiatives, increased economic spend and job creation to name just a few.
Social value is not a new concept. It is a decade since the Public Services (Social Value) Act received Royal Assent and came into force, which created an obligation to secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits when commissioning public services.
Since then, social value has been on the rise, and ten years on these outcomes are no longer a ‘nice to have’. They are crucial to many contracts – especially within the public sector – with every member of the supply chain playing a key part. It is simply no longer about constructing a great building and doing some fluffy community work as a tick box exercise – and it is critical to winning new work and being appointed to delivery vehicles like frameworks. Businesses in the private sector have had to get on board or be left behind.
Guy Schmidt, Head of Compliance and Performance and Social Value Lead, said: “We know that cheapest does not necessarily equate to best, so we work closely with our clients to ensure the understanding of what true value looks like to them and their specific community. Social value starts with the client, but our consultancy makes sure that social value moves away from a ‘race to the bottom’ and tick box approach and moves towards a value-based procurement process.
“It is now another thing that needs to be properly forecasted, monitored and measured, so it has to be central to all our advice to clients. Our role remains to identify what our clients want and guide them through a constant education journey towards achieving the desired outcomes, with the compliant processes in place to do so.”
SMEs are the lifeblood of the construction industry. Having a dynamic supply chain is crucial to driving social value, innovation, and product development – pushing our industry to do things better and take a localised approach to create the best returns for clients.
This is why we are so dedicated to creating and maintaining relationships with our diverse supply chain, making sure that they take this central and important position to project delivery. 75 per cent of our supply chain is made up of SMEs and micro suppliers, making sure that we provide clients not just with choice, but also the best local suppliers possible, which of course comes with added benefits relating to carbon outputs from delivery chains.
It is also important to consider governmental lead too. Many of the levelling up missions laid out by government in early 2022 are often identified within industry social value measurements.
Group compliance and performance Director Dr Nicola Thompson said: “To put this into an example, it wouldn’t just be about building a new school. That one new school can provide additional pupil places and teaching positions for the local area, but also potentially reduce teacher to student ratios and improve quality of education through suitable facilities. Equally it may have facilities for public use too, which see the positive impact in the immediate area, such as the benefit from access to community sports facilities.
“Plus, all of this can work towards improved quality of life through better physical and mental health. Simply put, the ‘softer’ qualitative outcomes are no less important than revenue from a project – and everything must work hand-in-hand.”
We believe that by investing in communities, we can have a wider impact, such as, reducing our environmental impact, supporting SMEs through the supply chain, and increasing skills and workforce development through sharing of expertise, STEM work and youth and unemployed support.
Our own approach to social value has a long history and goes way beyond the projects we deliver. Since 2016, our collective actions have created almost £31 million in social value add (SVA) to local communities around the country and left that lasting positive legacy for future generations to benefit from.
This ranges from providing work experience and engaging with schools to helping inspire the next generation of built environment professionals, thereby working to tackle the industry’s equality issues and ongoing talent shortages. We also engage with universities, taking part in schemes like the RIBA Architecture Ambassadors programme.
We dedicate a huge amount of time to local volunteering, with 5,000 hours of this undertaken by our people since 2016. This equates to almost two full years of time and has added more than a quarter of a million pounds in social value add to local communities. One such recent initiative saw our specialists tidy up an allotment project run by Market Harborough & The Bowdens charity, which support a nearby primary school, the local Women’s Institute and a local learning disability group.
As an industry we have to be collaborating with the wider supply chain to create designs that have the end-users at their heart, otherwise we cannot deliver meaningful social value – and we are committed to leading the way in generating social value and creating an overall positive impact for local communities.