Community benefits in public procurement

This report presents the findings of a pilot programme which was intended to promote the use of 'community benefit'.

10 Key Lessons

10.1 Targeted recruitment and training ( TR&T) and value for money (VfM)

The inclusion of targeted recruitment and training ( TR&T) as core requirements in the procurement of works can be delivered without detriment to VfM. However, success in achieving these outcomes depends on:

  • a high-level commitment to the new approach that, over time, changes cultures and practices in the client's procurement teams;
  • an appropriate commitment of resources by the client body: most especially engaging a project champion with employment and training knowledge that can advise the procurement team, liaise with training and job-matching service providers, establish appropriate monitoring and verification systems and liaise with contractors when they are appointed.

10.2 Achieving Community Benefits

When drafting Community Benefit Requirements, the following factors should be taken into account:

  • the objectives of Community Benefit clauses, i.e. the needs of the beneficiaries compared with the capacity of the contract to accommodate these needs and still deliver other priorities like quality, timetable, cost;
  • designing the requirements to fit with supply-side funding and services, while taking into account the durability of the latter in relation to the timeframe for contract delivery;
  • the monitoring and reporting requirements in relation tothe contracting authority's capacity to use this information effectively.

Clear, measurable and deliverable targets best facilitate these objectives.

10.3 Alignment of targeted recruitment and training ( TR&T) Recruitments with ExistingServices

A third point to emerge from the pilots is the importance of aligning the targeted recruitment and training ( TR&T) requirements with the existing training and recruitment services available to help contractors deliver the requirements. Community Benefit requirements should allow contractors to tap into the training and job-matching services currently available. This may be problematic where the Community Benefit requirements contained in the contract require training and recruitment service providers to change their working method in order to comply with the needs of the contractor.

10.4 Commissioning Skills

Finally, we can note that the approach requires the development of new skills within the procurement's stakeholder group (including economic development/ regeneration, housing and procurement staff). This includes an understanding of the entitlement to procure Community Benefits alongside more traditional requirements, for example, construction and an understanding of public procurement procedures, including evaluation of PQQs andtenders.

The evidence from the case studies has been that it is easier to achieve an appropriate organisational culture and practice in new organisations like GHA and Raploch URC than those with long-established practices like Dundee and Inverclyde councils.



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