Maximising the potential of the added value of contracting opportunities is used as a lever to address specific Council priorities and by doing so extends the value from our third party expenditure. There are many potential areas of opportunity, such as:
- Targeted Training and Recruitment – promoting skills and labour/ apprenticeships;
- Business Supply Chain Initiatives – supplier engagement/supply chain opportunities;
- Working with the Third Sector – support for voluntary groups;
- Community Engagement – volunteering days/supporting community groups;
- Education – work/school placements/career path support;
- Support for Community Initiatives – environmental improvements/grant schemes.
This approach has led to the development of strong working relationships across Procurement, Criminal Justice and the Employment Support Services. This has led to the delivery of training and employment opportunities for those furthest from the employment market. By encouraging suppliers to provide opportunities for young and unemployed people, individuals have been identified and appointed to posts that may not have previously been accessible to them. Working with our Employability Service, our Tyre Management Services contract with a local suppler initially delivered three work experience placements and through this has subsequently secured two apprenticeships for local young people. A third apprenticeship is under consideration.
The creation of a stakeholder group brought together the relevant bodies to ensure the Council could take advantage of every opportunity arising from each contract. Creating a one stop shop approach has provided a joined up approach across the key organisations involved in, particularly, employment related community benefits.
Another important challenge was to develop a performance monitoring process. Without robust monitoring of Community Benefit Clause (CBC) outcomes it is unlikely the desired level and quality of benefits will be delivered. A monitoring schedule has been created to ensure every contract containing a CBC is consistently reviewed. The frequency of monitoring is proportionate to the scale of the contract with the supplier required to provide evidence of how they have met the community benefits requirements over the lifetime of the contract.
Promoting good community engagement, particularly during construction projects, has been essential in fostering long-term positive relationships between the host community and those involved in the specific contract. Effective engagement also assisted in delivering sustainable community benefits which reflected the needs and wishes of the local community.
Equally important was the opportunity to widen this policy across the Community Planning Partnership. This pan-sector approach to community benefit is innovative and is providing a catalyst for lasting change across the Borders community by delivering added value employment opportunities, skills training and other community based benefits.
The expected outcomes of the policy are noted below;
- Strategic application of targeted recruitment and training benefit to achieve specific economic priorities;
- Increased number of sub-contractor opportunities and associated level of spend in supply chain;
- Increased opportunities for the community to learn and develop;
- Increased opportunities for young people to gain experience and skills for life and work.