Tech & Trends
£27 million social value commitments ‘only the start’ for NEPO
May 18, 2023
Keith Lamb, social value and supplier co-ordinator at NEPO, explores the positive impact of its social value delivery, which has been recognised at a national level.
Since 2017, social value has been embedded in everything NEPO does.
This has helped ensure new jobs have been created, apprenticeships have been started and supply chains have been supported through extra spending.
Working in partnership with our member authorities, associate members and suppliers, we have developed a set of regional priorities, which aim to address the biggest challenges the region faces, such as economic growth and environmental improvements.
Over the past year, NEPO has secured £27 million of social value commitments.
These have included creating jobs, increasing local supply chain spending, donations or in-kind contributions and reforestation initiatives.
Our social value delivery has been recognised nationally.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, our energy team continued to deliver social value with our contracted suppliers.
The work helped secure awards at the National Social Value and GO Awards for NEPO in 2022.
To be recognised nationally is testament to the work suppliers have done to help boost skills, support local communities and volunteer with local charities.
Leadership and ambition
Our commitment and leadership on social value has been reinforced in the NEPO2025 strategy.
Our three-year strategy includes ambitious plans to ensure the millions spent through public procurement creates added value within the local economy, positively impacting our communities and the environment.
Our strategic theme of delivering ‘tremendous social value’ will help us make a real difference across the region.
We have six key drivers to deliver our collective ambitions:
- Embed the North East ESG model in everything we do
- Stimulate economic growth through job opportunities, apprenticeship placements and training
- Tackle environmental challenges, delivering on net-zero ambitions and harnessing the region’s talent and innovation to show the North East is leading the way
- Collaborate with key regional stakeholders, including the combined authorities, North East Local Enterprise Partnership and anchor institutions, such as universities, to deliver on our shared ambition
- Support our suppliers, acting as a trusted partner, to ensure they can achieve their ambitions and create growth and opportunity
- Recognise and celebrate supplier success to show the North East is not a problem to be solved, but a solution to the UK’s challenges
We’re not resting on our laurels.
Our first Social Value Impact Report has highlighted the real difference our social value commitments are making across the region.
This highlights individuals who had secured high-quality employment experience through apprenticeships and work placements, and how school and university students have been helped to prepare for future job opportunities.
Food contract supplier Hopwells has also helped a local college with careers support, while also donating food to local foodbanks.
Our travel management supplier Click Travel donated surplus IT equipment to local schools, and are working with a local project to give their IT skills to deliver employability skills to the local community.
Through our water contract with Wave Utilities, a couple of large-scale volunteering days have been delivered to support the charitable organisations managing the Tees Barrage and the Washington Wetlands Centre.
The report also showcases social value delivery within local authorities in the North East, who are at the forefront of delivering social value outcomes.
These outcomes have focused on delivering what is needed in local communities to help grow the economy, tackle the environmental challenges faced, help improve skills and ensure community groups are supported.
If we look at the social value delivery across Sunderland and Durham as examples, we can see that across two contracts in Sunderland, they are delivering more than £2 million in social value to deliver new jobs, employability skills with schools and volunteering support for local community projects.
Through their construction contracts, Durham is delivering significant levels of social value.
This covers new jobs, local supply chain spend, employability engagement with schools and colleges, apprenticeships and donations to local charitable projects.
The past five years have shown what can be achieved when working collaboratively, whether that is buyers and suppliers, or organisations and communities.
The social value that has been delivered has made a tangible impact across the region.
This is only the start for NEPO.
Our collaborative procurements work programme will be at the heart of delivering the ambitions to ‘level-up’, achieve net-zero and build back better.
This will ensure procurement is seen as a strategic lever and, through social value, can deliver economic and environmental aspirations.
The North East is recognised as a national leader in delivering social value outcomes.
Over the next three years, NEPO will raise the ambitions and standards in delivering social value.
This includes establishing a NEPO ESG model, which will deliver the economic, environmental and social ambitions of the region.
Created in the region, for the region and delivering the region’s priorities, our model will become the benchmark for others to follow.
Alongside the new ESG model, we will implement a reformed programme of support for our suppliers.
The NEPO Business Club will deliver the support that is needed to match the needs and ambitions of suppliers.
Social value support will be an integral part of this new programme, helping demystify what social value is and how suppliers can demonstrate what they can do.