We influence planning and procurement policies to include informed and appropriate employment & skills and supply chain obligations through Social KPIs.
We raise awareness of social value and influence the construction industry and its stakeholders to adopt a culture of responsible businesses.
We provide a link between local construction developments and the communities they work in. Working with partners from the local Public and Third Sector to deliver, monitor and measure Social KPIs and the outcomes they produce.
We provide expert advice and guidance on Social Value to public sector bodies, businesses, organisations and groups working in and around the construction industry to assist them to create new opportunities for their business and develop new skills within their existing and future workforce.
With construction activity in the city at that time predicted at over £7 billion it was foreseen that a coordinated approach had to be taken to maximise the benefits of the public and private developments within the city.
Leeds City Council, Jobcentre Plus and a local regeneration charity Renew began discussing the partnership and began inviting other key partners to join including CITB, Federation of Master Builders, Leeds College of Building and the Local Strategic Partnership – The Leeds Initiative.
Once the key aims and objectives of the organisation were agreed, grant funding was secured from European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, Learning Skills Council, Yorkshire Forward and Leeds City Council. With the Leeds Initiative’s support and Renew acting as the accountable body CHY was formally launched by the Right Honourable Hilary Benn MP in January 2007 on a live, very cold construction site at Bridgewater Place, Leeds.
Rob Wolfe, CHYs current Senior Executive, was recruited in June 2006 to set up CHY with the simple objective to “make sure that major construction projects in Leeds benefit our communities by creating jobs, delivering training and generating business opportunities”.
This objective and our collaborative approach remains at the heart of CHY today but we have come a long way in the last ten years diversifying our income from both public and private sources to become a true social enterprise; increasing our influence, developing and demonstrating our niche expertise and delivering some nationally recognised programmes.
Our objective has remained the same but our ambitions have grown. We want to see a unified approach across the construction industry for clients, contractors and the communities they work in which will drive more social value and ensure that the prosperity that comes with the physical regeneration of a city is inclusive of all those that live there.
CHY went on to win 8 regional and national Constructing Excellence Awards for its collaborative approach to developing and delivering Social Value in the built environment.
As social value becomes ever more important to clients across the UK and an integral part of responsible business we continue to grow our network of public, private and third sector partners both in and outside Yorkshire, we continue to influence planning and procurement processes to include, monitor and measure Social Value and we continue to create more jobs, more apprenticeships, deliver more skills and create more opportunities for local SME businesses.
Social Value is about creating employment, supporting the development of training and skills and buying goods and services from local providers.
Firstly, CSR is dead. Responsible businesses generate both economic and social value.
Secondly, we deliver what used to be termed as the “fluffy stuff”. Thankfully this is a term we hear less of these days.
The 2012 Social Value Act terms Social Value as improving the economic, social and environmental well-being of the relevant area. It can be the answer to the question: “What contribution to society do projects, investments and businesses make”? But this covers a whole gamut of potential programmes from philanthropy to local purchasing that becomes unclear, unmanageable and immeasurable.
For CHY Social Value is about creating employment, supporting the development of training and skills and buying goods and services from local construction contractors, material manufacturers and service providers.
A job, a qualification, an income, a contract; this is what changes a life and has the potential to change the communities in which we live and work.
If we do not act more responsibly as an industry by investing in our current staff, recruiting the workforce of the future and working with our supply chains, costs will rise as skills shortages sharpen and wages increase. Social Value should not be deemed an additional cost to the industry; it’s how businesses, in any sector, can and should operate.
But it’s more than just the numbers we train, recruit or contract; it’s about the long-term benefits and outcomes for the industry and the communities in which we work. If we create an apprenticeship it’s not just “1” on a KPI spreadsheet, it’s a person creating their future in the industry, it’s addressing the skills shortage within the industry, it’s supporting a future family, it’s a potential new business, it’s taxable income.
Don Ward from Construction Excellence discusses balancing capital expenditure, operational expenditure and other business expenditure to look at the total cost of a building. I would include social expenditure and value within this balance, enabling us to plan, procure, deliver and measure both the economic and social value of a development; allowing shareholders and the public sector to invest in developments that have greater social return and therefore long-term savings for the industry, local and national government.