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This Year’s Finalists: City of Edinburgh Council

This Year’s Finalists: City of Edinburgh Council

Edinburgh council logo

In the run-up to the GO Awards Scotland, taking place on 29th October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, we’ll be profiling some of our finalists to celebrate the diversity and strength of the entries to this year’s Awards.

Here, we hear from Neil Fraser, Senior Category Manager at the City of Edinburgh Council, about their entry for the Market Development Award, detailing the work of the Council’s Shared Housing Services.

  • Can you summarise the aims and scope of the project and how it took shape?

The subject of homelessness in Edinburgh is a key priority for the Council and this project is part of a suite of initiatives to help tackle the problem. The use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation for temporary accommodation is being replaced by more suitable forms of accommodation that provide more facilities and promote independence. It was important that in order to improve outcomes there was a thorough understanding of what service users would find useful in any new service.

  • What were some of the major challenges involved in the project, and how were these overcome?

Many of the service users are vulnerable and may have complex needs or be reluctant to engage. To get meaningful co-production a strategy was developed to gather the information in multiple formats and channels. To implement this strategy, the project team, made up from officers from Commercial and Procurement Services (CPS) and the service area:

> engaged with all existing providers via workshops;
> developed questionnaires for both providers and service users;
> visited service users and took them through the proposed new service in a way that they would understand and not find intimidating;
>found out what problems existed with the current service;
> and engaged with other agencies in the service users support network.

This strategy was very resource intensive. However, given the strategic importance of the service to the Council the work was prioritised.

  • What motivated you to enter this project for a GO Award – and why this category?

Although CPS has been involved in co-production and service re-design on a significant number of projects, this was the first time CPS was involved in face-to-face service user engagement. We used the information that engagement revealed to actively work with other agencies, such as the NHS Harm Reduction Team. This collaboration brought significant improvement to the service that would not have been realised otherwise.

  • What would winning a GO Award mean to you?

An endorsement that procurement professionals can bring not only commercial benefits, but also that they can improve services that deliver better outcomes for people and their communities.

This year’s finalists: Cenefits

This year’s finalists: Cenefits

In the run-up to the GO Awards Scotland, taking place on 29th October at the Marriott Hotel, Glasgow, we’ll be profiling some of our finalists to celebrate the diversity and strength of the entries to this year’s Awards.

Here, we hear from Tom Inglis, the founder of Cenefits, a web and mobile application which aims to makes it easy for organisations to manage and assess the community benefits and social value that they’ve added to their contracts. Cenefits and City of Edinburgh Council are listed as finalists in the Best Service (Micro and Small Businesses and Third Sector Organisations) Award.

  • Can you summarise the aims and scope of the project and how it took shape?

With Cenefits, we hope to provide the leading platform to manage and assess social value in Scotland and the wider UK. We are doing this by combining an elegant and easy to use interface for capturing evidence with a network of public organisations, suppliers and delivery partners.

The opportunity to develop Cenefits came about through The City of Edinburgh Council and Glasgow City Council’s Open Innovation Challenge in 2016/17. We entered our design, Cenefits, which was ultimately selected as the winner in November 2017.

  • What were some of the major challenges involved in the project, and how were these overcome?

The biggest challenges have been both understanding what community benefits are and how they fit into the wider ecosystem of social value and sustainable procurement, and how different organisations have started to systematise their approach to capturing evidence and reporting on community benefits. We’ve overcome this by continuously meeting and engaging with customers to iterate our product and optimise our process.

  • What motivated you to enter this project for a GO Award – and why this category?

As a startup company, it is important for us to take every opportunity to get exposure for what we’re doing amongst our potential customers. The GO Awards seemed like a great opportunity for us to get Cenefits in front of decision makers from local authorities, health boards, universities and non-governmental organisations in Scotland. We’ve entered the category for Micro and Small Businesses because that’s what we are. We’ve also been listed as finalists with City of Edinburgh Council in the Social Value Award category, which is the sector we operate in.

  • What would winning a GO Award mean to you?

Winning a GO Award would be truly awesome – it would add tremendous legitimacy to what we’ve been working on for two years, and be a great celebration of all of our hard work to date as well as that of our customers.