I am sure most Social Value professionals can relate to my frustration when the work we are delivering in communities is referred to as ‘the fluffy stuff’. Thankfully, with the prevalence of governance such as PPN06/20, social value is now getting the prominence it deserves. But are we starting to take it seriously, and how much do we still need to do to motivate and enthuse others to join the movement as responsible and successful businesses?
Speaking in commercial terms, honest, achievable and impactful social value demonstrates that contractors are not ‘just about building’ anymore. Instead, we create jobs, upskill for the future, inspire the next generation and enhance the environment as we move towards Net Zero Carbon. These crucial aspects may well be the ‘tipping point’ on a tender, enabling us to ‘win work’ and develop a reputation that we are credible businesses with a social conscience, who care about the future of Wales and the prosperity of the communities that we work in.
I come from a background of community engagement and developing positive action programmes, and like all my social value colleagues I have a vested interest in the work that BAM does to enhance lives. Every achievement and outcome we create is incredibly important to me personally. Yet, until 5 years ago, I didn’t know that this role existed in the construction sector! Joining this industry has given me the opportunity to bring my enthusiasm and local knowledge to shape the delivery of social value within BAM and the wider construction sector. To achieve this it is vital that we collaborate, consult, influence and create ground-up approaches with not just our staff, but with our supply chain, partners, clients and key stakeholders.
Speaking honestly, it is not all plain sailing. As an industry, now more than ever we need a shared effort to embed culture, build excellence and establish best practice. This will allow every company, large or small to lead the way in social value delivery and truly invest in our communities and the future of Wales.