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Liverpool City Council

Liverpool City Council

WINNER – GO Social and Community Benefit in Procurement Award (Local Authority, Consortia and Housing) – UK National GO Awards 2019/20

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Liverpool City Council was recognised at the UK National GO Awards for their ‘Liverpool Parklife’ project, which combined widespread community benefit and social value with an innovative approach to the procurement process, with a focus in an area Liverpool is already internationally famous for – football. Lorraine Cross, Category Manager at the Council’s Commercial Procurement Unit, details how social benefit was factored into every stage of the project.

Liverpool City Council with GO Award on stage

The project

Since 2000, grassroots football in Liverpool has been supported with significant investment in capital improvements through Football Foundation grants. However, Liverpool City Council (LCC) has faced a 65% cut in its budget since 2010 – the biggest to any local authority in the UK – and so we approached the Football Association (FA) to discuss how best to preserve the integrity of the local game in light of pressure on public budgets. It was concluded that there was an opportunity to remodel the way in which football is delivered to the communities of Liverpool so as both to reduce reliance on public subsidy and improve the quality of the offer made. The project has seen the creation of four new state-of-the-art football hubs, as part of a major £20 million investment in grassroots football across the city, with 12 floodlit 3G pitches, as well as health and fitness and coaching facilities – representing a major step-change in grassroots football provision across the city.

Social value in procurement

LCC is committed to use its buying power to drive social change. The council takes account of social benefits in the award of all its contracts. Although the requirement to bring in income and cover costs was high on the agenda [for this project], this was not the only priority for the Council or the funding partners. The construction and operator tenders therefore both included weightings to ensure social value opportunities were considered a priority.

It was a relatively simple process to include social value in the construction of the football hubs as LCC includes social value-related KPIs in all its construction projects, including KPIs around jobs, training and local spend. Construction contractors are generally familiar with this approach and recognise that cost is not our only priority.

Liverpool City Council team speech at GO AwardsIt was more difficult to ensure that the operator procurement not only covered the costs of the operation, but also geared their football programme to areas that would potentially be less profitable, e.g. girls’ football and disability sport. We were very specific in the evaluation around social value to ensure that Pulse, the operator awarded the contract, shared our aims and values.


There was extensive consultation and collaboration with a large number of community and sporting groups and partners [throughout the process]. We were fortunate to be able to use Sheffield University to undertake and manage this for us. This ensured that the results provided the decision makers with a better understanding of the stakeholders’ values, interests, issues, and concerns and allowed us to incorporate these responses into the project aims.

One of the biggest challenges was managing expectations. When the Parklife project was reported in the local press, it became obvious that members of the public and local councillors were keen to have the Parklife hubs ‘in their patch.’ This needed to be managed sensitively, with the final decision based on facts and evidence from detailed analysis undertaken to review the demographics to understand where there was most need and which sites would achieve most social value benefit. The consultation process undertaken helped this, as it had created a strong foundation for long-lasting and trustful relationships between the project and the stakeholders.

Community benefits

Key outcomes for Liverpool from the scheme include reducing the level of subsidy to football, thus removing the financial ramifications of LCC financing football; strategically located, high quality, affordable facilities; broader access to participation and exit routes to professional clubs for both males and females; and improved mental and physical health benefits, such as a reduction in obesity levels.

The construction of the football hubs was carried out by Kier and generated over £16.6m of social value on this project, including 140 apprenticeship weeks, with 10 apprentices gaining experience across the four sites; 2,260 school pupils engaged in 14 careers events; £3000 of donations to 13 local charities; and over £3m in local spend. Liverpool City Council team celebrating at GO Awards

Pulse, which was selected to operate the facilities for LCC, committed to provide various community programmes that will vary in scope and focus to meet the needs of local participants at each of the hubs. These include health and wellbeing initiatives such as ‘wellness prescriptions’, where local GP practices can refer ‘at risk’ patients through to nutritional advice and physical activity; adult and child weight management; cardio and pulmonary rehab; extensive work with disability groups; and more. All these can be delivered within the Parklife hubs using the facilities in a flexible and innovative way, to support the most vulnerable within the community.

In the first year of operation, over 60,000 users have registered at the sites with over 200,000 visits recorded. The Parklife sites in Liverpool are the most used of their type across thecountry. Our funding bodies will, through Sheffield University, undertake further research to review the success of the project, which they intend to roll out through the country.

The GO Awards experience

We decided to enter the GO Awards as we are very proud of this particular project, and felt that it showcased a unique approach to the inclusion of social value in our procurement processes. This was a real team effort and we are absolutely thrilled to have won the Award and to be recognised both internally by Liverpool City Council and externally by our peers. It was great to be able to attend the Awards evening with other team members, who were also extremely pleased to see the results of their hard work being recognised.

It’s been a fantastic opportunity to showcase a fantastic project that so many people have worked very hard on. It’s all been very positive!



Renfrewshire Council

Renfrewshire Council

WINNER – GO Procurement Project of the Year (sub-£20m value) – GO Awards Scotland 2018/19
WINNER – GO Procurement Project of the Year (sub-£20m value) – UK National GO Awards 2019/20

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Renfrewshire Council was recognised in both the GO Awards Scotland and the National GO Awards for their innovative Street Lighting Replacement Programme, which delivered sustainability and carbon reduction along with cashable savings and a creative approach to the procurement itself.  Bridget Lambert, Strategic Commercial & Procurement Manager at Renfrewshire Council, explains the shape of the project, and how it was able to achieve the success  it did. Epson logo


Renfrewshire Council accepting award

The Project

This procurement project aimed to deliver the objectives of the Street Lighting Improvement Strategy, which was agreed by the Council in 2015. The programme sought the conversion of 30,756 sodium streetlights to new energy-efficient LED lanterns, aiming to improve the quality of light and reduce both energy consumption and maintenance costs, with the whole programme to be completed within an ambitious 18-month timeline.


The greatest challenge associated with this project was the very tight timescales. The original estimate of time required was three years, but this was shortened to 18 months. To accommodate the ambitious project timescales, procurement adopted an innovative strategic approach to procure each requirement. Over 30,700 lanterns were required at an estimated cost of £9 million. To maintain the flow of the right products at the right time, we opted to conduct a series of mini competitions under Scotland Excel’s Street Lighting Materials framework, promoting a more agile approach to procurement, rather than bulk buying and holding stock. Nineteen individual mini competitions were carried out, and separate contracts were let for each phase of the installation. Procurement worked closely with each contractor to ensure the rapid delivery of LED lanterns, keeping the project moving and enabling it to deliver on time and on budget.

This approach saved the Council an estimated £120 per LED, with an overall savings on the supply element of circa £1.1 million.  Renfrewshire council team with GO Award


Social value and sustainability are very much at the heart of all that we do in Renfrewshire Council. We do not just consider the sustainability impact of our procurement but also how our procurements can actively improve social, economic and environmental wellbeing in our communities.

Sustainability and cost were of equal importance in this project. The project set out very clear aims and the relationship between cost, quality and sustainability was at the heart of our specification and approach. The project had to achieve cost savings, but it also had to achieve reductions in energy consumption and reduce our carbon footprint whilst also ensuring our streets remained well-lit and safe. The project successfully delivered on all of these goals.


The project was challenged with reducing cost, energy consumption and carbon consumption. In each case this project exceeded the original targets set, reducing energy consumption by 64%, electricity costs by over £1 million per annum and contributing to the overall reduction in the council’s carbon consumption by 8%.

The LED Replacement programme has been widely celebrated by the Council, both for the success of the project itself and the project team. Learning from this project has been shared across the Council and more widely with other councils across Scotland. I believe that this project provides a very good example of all that is great about procurement, the value we can add and how well we can work with our partner services to deliver all of the project objectives.

The GO Awards Experience

I would strongly encourage everyone in public sector procurement to enter the GO Awards. It only takes a little bit of time to complete the entry and to achieve finalist stage is such a fantastic recognition of all the hard work we put in. To be a winner on the night is a success not just for procurement but for the whole organisation.

Winning a GO Award is the highest accolade we can win as public sector procurement professionals. Recognition from peers across our sector means a great deal – it is a very great honour to win. Our team are a fantastic, hard-working and committed team, and this win means so much to them and to the wider organisation. It is the highpoint of our year so far.