Faithful+Gould has launched a new advisory service aimed at helping clients develop clear social value programmes on built environment projects and, crucially, ensuring delivery of those commitments.
In order to roll out the service the firm has invested in the expansion of its social value team, establishing regional leads in each of the key areas of the UK to liaise with clients and support their social value commitments.
To support the current social value organisational structure, Faithful+Gould has made three new appointments - Ilaria Agueci, Dan Heffernan and Sarah Lambshead – all bringing extensive experience and skills to the team. The expansion also enhances the social value capability of the wider SNC-Lavalin group members, including Atkins.
Sarah Lambshead has 15 years’ experience working within the built environment, most recently as a consultant on social value, helping businesses understand the social challenges they have the solutions for.
Dan Heffernan’s experience is within corporate social responsibility project management and economic development, where he’s demonstrated a passion for helping businesses and investors make a positive social impact to local communities.
Ilaria Agueci’s previous role at Hammersmith and Fulham Council involved embedding social value into the procurement and internal governance processes, as well as liaising with suppliers and internal departments to identify social value activities linked to local needs.
Peter Masonbrook, head of the social value team at Faithful+Gould, said since the introduction of PPN 06/20, which sets out how to take account of social value in the award of central government contracts, a lot of organisations are still not clear on how to deliver on their pledges.
He said: “This is a new and innovative service which we believe is a first for the built environment sector, and is typical of the client-first approach we have always taken at Faithful+Gould.
“We have aligned our advisory service with the construction playbook which means we engage with clients even before projects commence to ensure we set social value objectives that meet both the client’s and local community needs.
“With PPN060 coming into effect and incorporating social value into the procurement process, it’s important for businesses and public sector organisations to have the right skillset and resource in place to be able to deliver social value.
“What we have seen in the past couple of years, particularly in the public sector where a lot of our clients are, is a lack of understanding of how to covert those commitments into reality.
“It’s no longer good enough to make a commitment to social value outcomes within a project, now organisations have to demonstrate how they are going to deliver against those commitments. That’s where we can draw on our expertise to provide the skillset required to do that.”
Masonbrook said one of the challenges for the construction sector is knowing what constitutes social value and, in fact, many organisations are doing things that would count towards it but may not recognise it.
He added: “We need to move away from the idea that social value is about taking a day off to go and paint a community centre. To bring about real value, it should be about unlocking opportunities for the communities most affected by development.
“We take the view that it’s vitally important to ensure those promises are kept and that communities impacted by development benefit from it in a number of ways.
“That’s why we have invested in our team, expanded the number of regional leads through the appointment of Ilaria, Dan and Sarah and as a business we’re making our own commitment to provide our clients with the project management and support they need to make good on their delivery.”