From Client to Contractor
Helen Bedford, Social Value Manager at Lindum Group, explains how 14 years’ local authority experience is proving invaluable for understanding clients’ needs.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from working in local government, it is that cash is in demand. Resources and budgets are limited, and it’s critical to ensure projects come in on or under budget to achieve success and sustainability. But when your budget is made up of tax payers’ pounds, holding the purse strings becomes essential.
My genuine understanding of public sector budget constraints, and therefore maximising project value is something that underpins my relationships with clients on the Scape Regional Construction framework.
Before taking on the role of Social Value Manager at Lindum, I worked for a local authority for 14 years. During this time, I worked client-side throughout the Scape framework process on a number of projects, most notably on the largest co-location scheme for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Having someone who knows what it’s like on the ‘other side’ has proved to be invaluable for successful collaboration and driving innovation on projects delivered through the Scape Regional Construction framework.
Helen Bedford, Lindum
As Project Manager, one of my key responsibilities on the DWP project mentioned above was managing the timeline of work. The DWP team were moving into a ‘live’ environment where other departments were operating and so it was essential that these services were not disrupted. The local authority relied on me to collaborate with contractors to ensure work was carried out at suitable times and in a way that would not impact on services or service users.
Seeing first-hand how important communication is – particularly between the principal contractor, sub-contractor and client, and having someone who knows what it’s like on the ‘other side’ has proved to be invaluable for successful collaboration and driving innovation on projects delivered through the Scape framework.
Years in local government have also given me a feel for everything ‘social value’. Whilst the definition of what social value is and what it stands for are being established at a national level, it is already at the heart of local public-sector spending. I have witnessed first-hand how public sector bodies have placed growing importance on the social impact of their projects, from community engagement to carbon footprints.
Lindum is engaging with the third sector, voluntary centre services, local charities, social enterprises and community groups, as well as encouraging our supply chain to consider their own social value polices. Lindum’s career events and taster days with local schools, colleges and universities culminate in our annual ‘construction week’ where local school children are invited to take part in construction related activities, encouraging interest in future careers.
My focus on Lindum’s delivery of construction projects with social value at their heart, and finding opportunities to help clients add value, will ultimately create relevant and meaningful community benefits for individuals and for local economies, leaving a lasting legacy.
Helen BedfordSocial Value Manager
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