19/11/2018

Creating social value without increasing cost

Local authorities are under increasing pressure to deliver projects at lower costs whilst embedding social value. Rob Sharman discusses how Team Scape is helping to achieve this.

It is vital to align social value with the specific needs of our clients, and enhance the understanding of what social value looks like in a local context. This means that through collaboration we are able to deliver a positive, sustainable impact for the community. 

Identifying exactly what social value outcomes can be accomplished and building them into the project procurement process is key to ensuring they are achieved as a minimum, and that cost is not affected.


Through Scape's Regional Construction framework, we are able to engage right at the inception stage of a project or programme of works. Early engagement with the client allows us to collaborate and ascertain their individual social value objectives. Both our company strategy and client-specific requirements are integrated to define the overarching social value outcomes, with measured targets against a number of key areas including:

  1. Sustainable, local supply chain
  2. Employment, skills and training
  3. Environmental enhancement and protection
  4. Community health and wellbeing
  5. Social innovation

With this information, the pre-construction process is tailored to have social value firmly defined, which includes:

  • How we engage with local suppliers and utilise local labour
  • How we design our schemes with the environment in mind, reducing waste generated and our carbon footprint
  • How we encourage the wider local community to become part of the project
  • How we create employment opportunities, skills and training development

Targets are shared with all stakeholders and also incorporated into our supply chain procurement process. The supply chain plays a huge part in creating social value outcomes, therefore our selection process takes account of the key investment areas above.

On the Regional Construction framework, G F Tomlinson has a target of 85 per cent spend with local Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and we are committed to increasing this figure to 95 per cent with the support of our supply chain. Each supply chain partner identifies their individual commitments against the investment area and the award factor is based on how they achieve and exceed these.

Measuring performance periodically is key to ensuring that targets are achieved. We have found that having a collaborative online platform to efficiently share live data is the best way for all stakeholders to have access to project data throughout the process. This also identifies any outcomes that are being exceeded, and any improvements that may be needed.

The above method of operation and working closely with our clients has enabled us to exceed various social value targets including local spend and labour by 50 per cent, creating in excess of 116 adult employment opportunities and promoting our industry to over 8,375 students in recent years.

So, through early engagement, setting targeted social value outcomes at inception and incorporating them into the procurement process, tangible social value benefits can be delivered without adding extra cost.

G F Tomlinson have been at the forefront of supporting Arc Partnership’s Social Value strategy in recent years. On all projects they share with us the targets set at pre-construction for key investment areas, and provide performance reports throughout the process to identify our project achievements. This really helps us demonstrate to all project stakeholders the impact we have made on the local communities within which we work.

Chris Higginson, Head of programme and performance - Arc Partnership

Scape Group is sponsoring this year's National Social Value Conference, taking place in Manchester from Tuesday 20-Wednesday 21 November. Come and meet our team to talk about shaping your social value outcomes: Book a meeting here

Rob Sharmancrop
Written by:

Rob Sharman

Head of Frameworks
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