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Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd & University of Glasgow

Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd & University of Glasgow

WINNER – Social Value Award, GO Awards Scotland 2019/20
WINNER – GO Excellence Award, GO Awards Scotland 2019/20

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A collaboration between Multiplex Construction Europe Ltd and the University of Glasgow, the Campus Development Project was awarded the Social Value Award at the GO Awards Scotland, as well as the GO Excellence Award, recognising the outstanding entry from among that year’s winners. Kieran Ronnie, Social Value and Community Manager at Multiplex, explains how social value was embedded throughout every aspect of the project.

The project

Multiplex and the University of Glasgow are creating social value and a positive legacy through the Campus Development Project to create four new academic buildings. The project drives socio-economic growth through employment and skills opportunities, supporting local business, and inspiring a future generation into the workforce. Through our project-specific Social Value & Community Strategy, we create a robust structure and framework that enables the project to maximise its social capital and deliver life-changing outcomes for the people of Glasgow and beyond. Our approach to delivering Social Value is built on four main pillars: Investing in People; Supporting Business; Inspiring Community; and Respecting Our Neighbours.

Ensuring supply chain value

We work with our supply chain to deliver social value outcomes, creating links between subcontractors and the local community to deliver real partnerships.

Social value is embedded throughout the supply chain so that all subcontractors are aligned with our social value aspirations and objectives. We engage with potential supply chain organisations at the tender stage of each work package to ensure social value is a key element of project delivery. All tendering supply chain organisations complete and submit a social value document as part of the procurement process. Our project contains social value targets on new entrants, apprentices, graduates and training outcomes, along with engaging local SMEs, social enterprises and supported businesses, school and university students and local community groups, and this document details the supply chain’s commitment to delivering on these outcomes. This commitment is reviewed as part of the procurement process so that realistic but ambitious targets are set for each subcontractor to achieve as part of their contract.

Early engagement with the supply chain as part of the procurement process ensures that all parties are fully aligned ahead of the works commencing and there is a plan and framework in place to support the delivery of social value.

Effective partnerships

Social value must be approached in partnership with a range of stakeholders including employment and skills organisations, our supply chain, local community groups and charities. Developing our supply chain and SMEs local to the project is a key objective for the project. We have delivered 14 capacity-building workshops on Procurement, Quality, Sustainability, Modern Slavery and more, inviting supply chain and local SMEs.

Multiplex has also established a Community Partnership with local employment and skills groups, led by the Department for Work & Pensions and JobCentre Plus, to support our and our supply chain’s social value ambitions. It is important that all supply chain organisations are engaged with the Community Partnership at contract award, and this relationship is maintained through monthly meetings, employability events and the Partnership’s on-site presence. By establishing this structure and implementing continuous tracking and reporting of progress towards social value targets, we have far exceeded our expected social value outcomes to date.

An important but challenging component of our Social Value strategy is to engage, support and do business with social enterprises and supported businesses. By working together, our Procurement, Social Value & Community and Operations departments were able to identify contracts we could target for social enterprises, so they had the opportunity to tender and win work on the project. We promoted these opportunities through Meet the Buyer events, supply chain workshops and through social business networks to make contracts available to social enterprises. As a result, we currently have over £1.1m worth of contracts signed with social enterprises against a target of £561,000, with an actual spend to date of over £500,000.

Developing skills, sharing knowledge

By linking our subcontractor, CSM Facilities, with the Community Partnership and supporting unemployed candidates into work at the Campus Development, they now deliver all their Glasgow recruitment through the Community Partnership, delivering eight new entrants at the project and another eight across their business. Learning from this success, we now support our supply chain recruitment outside of the Campus Development project through the Partnership to widen the opportunities for unemployed people to access jobs and work placements.

Multiplex has provided caterer Street & Arrow, which hires people with convictions for twelve-month blocks, with free utilities and exclusive access to the workforce within the site compound. Those coming to the end of their time on the programme and ready to make the next step into full time employment are offered work placement and employment opportunities within the Campus Development project. The first candidate to complete the programme on site is now in full-time employment with another subcontractor, breaking the cycle of re-offending and providing sustainable employment.

Additionally, the Campus Development project has become a ‘living lab’ for university student and academic research projects, dissertations and PhDs. Projects include researching the impact of green hoarding on air and water quality, designing innovative smart campus solutions to use technology to enhance the student campus experience, and creating a construction mobile app for updating stakeholders on construction progress, traffic updates and road closures. The University’s College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences is currently researching the health (diet, exercise and mental wellbeing) of the workforce across the whole Campus Development. This data will be used to build an accurate picture of our construction workforce so that bespoke interventions can be designed to target non-communicable diseases.

Over 90 local pupils have participated to date in our secondary schools Independent Learning Programme, a 10-week initiative where pupils work in teams to create a fictional company and bid for the Campus Development project, developing research, teamwork and communication skills.

The GO Awards Experience

The GO Awards Scotland celebrate the best in public procurement and highlight the great work across the country. Multiplex and the University of Glasgow entered the GO Awards as we are striving to attain excellence in our procurement and our work with clients, supply chain and partner organisations. It is fantastic to be recognised by our industry peers and we would strongly encourage other organisations and projects to enter too.

By embedding social value and working with local SMEs and social enterprises within our projects, public procurement has the ability to deliver real social and economic benefits through employment and skills in the communities we live and work in, and it is fantastic to be recognised for our work in this field. We were delighted to win the Social Value Award and then to be recognised as the outstanding entry amongst a strong field of worthy winners. The GO Awards Scotland evening [on 29 October] demonstrated the breadth of talent in Scottish procurement, and to be recognised for our efforts to deliver social value through construction is a phenomenal achievement for the Campus Development Project.

Cardiff Council

Cardiff Council

WINNER – GO Emerging Procurement Talent Award, UK National GO Awards 2019/20

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Cardiff Council were recognised at the UK National GO Awards for their innovative and successful student placement programme, run in conjunction with the University of  South Wales (USW). As well as providing individual students with invaluable experience, the programme contributes to the development of skills throughout the procurement industry. Steve Robinson, Head of Commissioning and Procurement for Cardiff Council and Managing Director of Atebion Solutions, and Scott Parfitt, Senior Lecturer at USW and course leader for the BSc Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management degree, explain what has made the scheme so successful.

The project

Steve Robinson: The relationship between Cardiff Council and USW started through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership that we entered into in 2008/9, to help us develop a more strategic approach to managing procurement in Cardiff, based on category management. That started giving us exposure to some of the talent the university were producing. It’s always been part of USW’s approach to encourage students to do a year in industry [between the second and third years of their degrees]. Scott and I developed a relationship through the KTP, and Scott then asked if we thought we could support the work USW do with student placements.

Cardiff Council student placement team with GO Award

The Cardiff Council team at the UK National GO Awards

We go through an interview process with students. For some of them it’s the first time they’ve been through an interview process. Based on that process, we’ll appoint somebody who’ll be with us for a full 12 months, during which time they’ll be a salaried employee of the council.

Plugging the skills gap

Scott Parfitt: At USW, we see the lack of supply and procurement talent. It’s a global issue, a UK issue and a Welsh issue. The problem of bringing talent in is not just something that’s experienced in terms of Cardiff. There’s a whole host of organisations in South Wales who struggle to attract procurement talent.

However, Wales is a procurement hotbed. We have lots of procurement organisations in South Wales, and USW is renowned for procurement. There’s a limited number of universities in the UK that offer degrees in procurement, and we’re one of only three UK institutions that have CIPS accreditation attached to an undergraduate degree. We’re obviously lucky that our local economy has a strong procurement connection. Cardiff are the shining light in terms of an organisation who work closely with us to help students develop to meet the demand – whether that be in Cardiff or in the wider Welsh or UK economy.

Steve Robinson: I act as Chair of the Welsh Local Government Association network, and recruitment is a problem all the local authorities face. The big challenge is finding people of the calibre you need. Many people now working in procurement didn’t leave school and think “let’s work in procurement”. The difference is that these students have made a conscious decision, at a fairly young age, that they would like to see a career in procurement. For me, that brings a level of professionalism that’s well overdue. They’re getting a good academic grounding early in their lives that they can build on through the industry experience they get. It’s down to people like Scott convincing them that there are great opportunities in supply chain. Without the programme, our ability to be able to recruit would be really challenged.

Developing talent

Steve Robinson: Because students are embedded in our category teams, which have got a high level of experience and expertise, they really couldn’t be learning from better practitioners. As well as gaining practical experience working on real projects with the team, we also support them with additional training. Students have done things like project management training or leadership training courses. A lot of that is standard training that’s available to council officers. We look to do anything we think is relevant to the students’ training and development, regardless of whether we’ll benefit from that in the long term or not.

Scott Parfitt: We’ve seen the students be very competitive to attain this position. Cardiff are one of the best teams in public sector procurement in the country, and the level of projects the students can get involved in is second to none. To see students develop expertise within a short period of time, working on relevant projects that add value to the council and the community that both USW and Cardiff Council are part of, is great. More and more we’re seeing the students getting kept on longer than the 12-month contract and continuing to work during their final year of study with us. Of Cardiff’s last seven appointments, six have come through our placement scheme. The others who haven’t been appointed to Cardiff have all gone on to achieve good careers in other institutions, all within procurement and supply chain roles.

Steve Robinson: Those six students will have all been through our open recruitment processes, where we are judging them against the calibre of other applicants – and to be honest there’s no comparison.

The GO Awards experience

Steve Robinson: The application process for the GO Awards is fairly straightforward. The limit on the number of words is actually a good thing, because it helps you focus on the key points you want to get across in the application. If there’s one thing in local government we can be criticised for, it’s not sharing good practice, and so even if we were not successful for the award, going through the process of generating case studies is very valuable. The criteria and definitions for the award categories are always very clear as well, which makes the process of writing these submissions up much more straightforward.

The key value is being able to celebrate success. Being successful in the GO Awards helps raise awareness and the profile of the work we’ve been doing, and it provides us with recognition of the work we’ve been doing, and that helps support the scheme. Because of the success we’ve had here, there are other departments now in other professions who can see the value of running similar programmes.

Scott Parfitt: I’d also like to thank BiP Solutions for providing our students with free entry to Procurex Wales for the last three years. It helps us attract students to the profession, by providing them with access to cutting edge industry research and trends at a leading procurement event.

You can learn more about the scheme on Cardiff Council’s website.