Local Business and Community
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Whilst the Employment, Skills and Ethics issues area looks at your own business and supply chain, the local business and community section looks at how companies in the built environment interact with communities and can be perceived as a good neighbour.
Clients and other stakeholders increasingly expect companies in the built environment to engage with the wider marketplace and to give a wide range of relevant companies the opportunity to freely and fairly compete for supply and sub-contracting opportunities. To gain innovation, competitive advantage and keener pricing, we should look at potential supply chain partners outside current networks. There could be small and medium enterprises, “local” businesses, social enterprises and organisations majority owned and controlled by people from diverse or under-represented groups (e.g. ethnic minority groups, women) who could make brilliant suppliers – you just haven’t met them, yet. Conversely, you could be the beneficiary of other companies undertaking this kind of ‘supplier diversity’ activity, by being given the opportunity to compete for new contracts.
Many companies working in the built environment engage with voluntary and community organisations. This can be through charitable or payroll giving, sponsorship, pro bono or in kind work and enabling employees to spend time volunteering on community or charity projects.
The design, build and operation of the built environment have the potential to be extremely disruptive to neighbours. Effective engagement and consultation with communities can be used to mitigate this risk, as can use of initiatives such as the Considerate Constructors Scheme.
Clients are increasingly requiring their supply chains to address social, community and ‘local’ issues during procurement processes and contract delivery. For example, bidders for contracts might be asked to create targeted recruitment and training plans, which explain exactly what people and skills will be required on a project and how the company will make sure that people from a wide range of backgrounds (e.g. local people, unemployed people, young people) will have the opportunity to apply for them. The client might also expect the company to employ a certain number of apprentices; and this issue loops us into material within the employment, skills and training theme of the School.
Common contractual requirements in this sphere include:
- Enhancing 'local' economic sustainability by using competitive local small businesses
- Increasing supplier diversity
- Providing 'local' and targeted employment – particularly the young and long-term unemployed
- Delivering 'local' and targeted skills and training (including apprenticeships and NVQs)
- Engaging with voluntary and civil society organisations
- Ensuring community engagement and consultation
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