Organisations across the UK delivering construction projects are set to benefit from easier access to social enterprises than ever before, thanks to a new social supply chain platform launched by SCAPE, powered by Local Supply Chain (LSC) and created in partnership with 25 leading construction companies.
The collaborative project sees the launch of The Social Partnership Portal, a website connecting buyers and suppliers that aims to drive social value across public sector procurement.
The new digital platform will enable industry buyers to easily source and engage with an extensive network of socially focused and accredited suppliers. Designed to support organisations focused on social and environmental outcomes, the initiative will also provide improved access to contractors working across SCAPE’s suite of next-generation construction and consultancy frameworks, the Southern Construction Framework (SCF) and beyond. SCAPE’s net zero-ready frameworks are used by more than 1,200 public bodies and cumulatively represent £18bn in buying power.
The Social Partnership Portal is supported by a visionary group of founding members comprising 25 leading UK contractors, framework operators SCAPE and SCF, and key industry stakeholders Constructionline and SMAS, with the site endorsed by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK).
Social value is a key principle of the UK Government’s Construction Playbook — published last year to shape best practice in public sector construction. The Playbook includes significant emphasis on social value within procurement, including increased use of local and national social enterprises.
Reputable social suppliers registered on The Social Partnership Portal will be accredited with Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum status depending on their social enterprise credentials. This includes grant-based income and the percentage of profit reinvested in social or environmental causes. Suppliers seeking to achieve platinum status will also obtain dedicated support from Supply Change, a social enterprise dedicated to furthering the work of fellow socially purposed organisations.
Suppliers and contractors can sign up to the platform and access the live benefits by visiting www.socialpartnershipportal.co.uk.
Mark Robinson, Group Chief Executive of SCAPE, said: “As a voice for the public sector and its construction partners, we can give social enterprises a platform to ensure projects are delivered for the benefit of local communities across the UK.
“Since the pandemic, a greater emphasis has been placed on procurement to deliver, not just in terms of cost, but also the value a building can add to the community through the course of its life — from construction through to operation. By sourcing and engaging social suppliers across the built environment, contractors are able to clearly evidence how they are reinvesting in local communities and helping to create jobs, promote skills and support the ongoing recovery.
“Our ambition is for the Portal to become the go-to platform for social procurement in the built environment sector, bringing together socially-focused suppliers and contractors to champion the benefits of conscientious construction. It represents an important asset in our suite of tools designed to ensure we maximise the social benefits that can be achieved through construction.”