Social value has a vital role to play in levelling-up society and should be incorporated at every stage of any project, according to leading industry figures.
On 26th March, Professor Peter McDermott from Construction Innovation presented at the Social Value and Construction conference to discuss Social Value along with over 300 leading industry practitioners who all share the collective vision and recognise the importance of Social Value within the construction sector.
The aim of this conference was to discuss the crucial part that Social Value plays in the construction industry, and how this needs to be implemented at the earliest stages of planning any project in order for everyone to work collectively and reap the rewards of their hard work.
The conference, organised in association with Infrastructure Intelligence’s Events and Communications Strategic Partner, BECG, focussed on the issue of social value and construction, mapping a way forward that can future-proof projects for generations to come and help to deliver a social legacy for construction and infrastructure.
Social value is increasingly being highlighted as a crucial requirement on construction and infrastructure projects, with more and more clients asking for the companies they work with to quantify the social good they can deliver on projects. But how good is the industry at putting people and their needs at the very heart of the way in which it designs and delivers projects? The online conference looked at how to ensure that infrastructure is maximising all the opportunities available to it to leave a positive social legacy.
Senior civil servant Samantha Butler, head of social value and skills at the Cabinet Office, described the UK government’s new social value policy for procurement as making every pound work as hard as it can for local communities in the post-Covid recovery.
“The government is buying and making procurement decisions in a way that benefits local communities and the environment,” she said, highlighting that evaluation of social value in the provision of goods and services, central reporting on social value on large government contracts and a commitment to mandatory training for 30,000 contract managers across government departments was all part of the new policy.
Butler also highlighted that the government was looking for more consistency from suppliers in their approach to social value. She also said that the industry should be ambitious and go further with social value rather than settle for minimum standards, while pointing out that the government was flexible enough to encourage more SMEs to play a positive role in focussing on social value.
“We must ensure that promises made are promises delivered,” said Butler. “The Covid-19 recovery is about helping communities recover from the pandemic, creating new jobs and skills, developing new markets and fighting climate change. Social value is at the heart of improving the health and wellbeing of local communities, delivering for communities, embedding best practice throughout the industry and ensuring a consistent approach right across the government machine,” Butler said.
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