Construction’s social and local economic value hits £1bn

construction social value
Image: Kier Group

The construction industry delivered more than £1bn in social and local economic value in 2021, according to new findings from the Social Value Portal and public sector procurement body Scape.

Together, they have compiled the Social Value in Construction Benchmarking Report

The report found that the construction industry achieved £1.08bn of social and local economic value in 2021, through investment in local communities. That was a 14% increase on the previous year (2020), when construction delivered social and local economic value of £949m.

Regional performance

The North West outperformed other regions in terms of social value delivery and was second highest after Scotland on local economic delivery. The South West had the lowest social and local economic value investment. However, geographical location and total number of projects will have impacted these figures. 

The report includes three case study examples from Scape framework partners delivering a variety of social value activities, ranging from employing ex-offenders and delivering a 100% spend with SMEs, to donating staff hours to local charities. All activities have been measured using the National TOMs standardised framework.

Social value and performance manager at Scape, Alison Ramsey, said: “For publicly-funded projects, improvement of the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of the relevant area is an important procurement consideration. We undertake this benchmarking report as a vital investment in measuring success.

“It is encouraging to see that the delivery of social value across the construction industry continues to improve and that contractors are supporting local communities for clients investing in the built environment. Not only does this report highlight what excellent work has been achieved so far, but it demonstrates how we can all build on these foundations to further improve performance in this area.” 

‘Imperative construction leads the way’

Nathan Goode, chief strategy officer at Social Value Portal, added: “It may be a little early to talk about trends as such, but seeing year-on-year progress in social and local economic value delivered by the construction industry is a great start. 

“As the largest industry in the UK, employing over three million people and responsible for a large proportion of the UK’s carbon emissions, it is imperative that the sector leads the way in improving society, both in terms of tackling the climate emergency as well as improving the lives of the people who reside in the communities in which they operate.

“The strongest argument for committing to social value generation could be financial: we all want a better world and a better future and delivering more social and local economic value will lead to a more prosperous future. I look forward to seeing further improvement in next year’s report.”

To download the full report, click here.

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