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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Octavius | Measuring Our Commitment to Social Value



It’s been over a year since the Government launched the social value model for procurement (PPN06/20). The hope behind the model is that more social value is released by leveraging public purchasing power.


Making a meaningful difference to social value delivery – and the economic and societal benefits that come with it – calls for greater accountability. This affects both procurement practice and the way that an organization measures its contributions.


At Octavius Infrastructure our social value (SV) goals have always been to make a difference, to leave a positive legacy ensuring our contribution has a lasting impact on the people, passengers and communities we serve. We not only want to create a positive legacy through what we deliver but also by how we deliver.


Our sustainability strategy and SV approach closely align to the Social Value Act (2012), PPN06/20 and the Government Construction Strategy 2025. We align our priorities with those of our customers as well to demonstrate economic prosperity, equal opportunity and wellbeing. We deliver our SV ambitions through collaboration with our suppliers and local businesses, focusing on initiatives that enhance SV outcomes, fully supporting our client’s SV goals by targeting investment and benchmarking for continuous improvement. We have established an SV Steering Group, formed from leaders across the business to capture and apply best practice and learning, drive innovation and embed our SV approach. This is led at Board level by Sustainability Director, Catriona Cliffe and championed by our SV Manager, Sarah Askey. We aim to continuously improve through learning, innovating and fully engaging in the communities where we work.


Is Social Value Valuable?

Measurement is something that happens at all stages of the project lifecycle. First, we decide what we want to measure and identify what and where we can add the most value to local communities, businesses, schools and other stakeholders.


Our Social Value Manager (SVM) helps to develop each project plan and we have adopted the Impact Evaluation Standard (IES) metrics and the Thrive software tool to record evidence and calculate the social value of our activities. This ensures that we have a plan to deliver tender-specific requirements from the outset. Other priorities come from engagement with schools and community groups and by understanding the local employment market and skills gaps.


The social value plan is unique to each project and based around identified needs and priorities. This makes a flexible software tool like Thrive indispensable. We set it up in collaboration with the customer to measure what is important to them as well as what it important to the communities in which we will work. The project team takes full responsibility for the activities and social value measurement for each project. As part of our governance, the SVM audits the evidence they collect.


Social Value in Action

Having the means to quantify social value has opened our eyes to just how much we deliver. If we take the A46 Binley junction near Coventry as an example, we can demonstrate delivery of activities with a value of over £293,000 of social value.


This includes five employment opportunities for local people and three new apprenticeships for an engineer, a data analyst and a quantity surveyor. Other delivered activities include supporting the local foodbank, litter picking and improving a local nature spot together with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.


During our long-term project to upgrade the Gade Valley viaduct we have been able to demonstrate £14.2m in social value delivered – an impressive total by spending over 75% of our spend with local Small and Medium sized enterprises (SME’s), having 8 apprentices working on the life of the project and undertaking local community initiatives with local schools and wildlife groups.


Delivering social value has always been part of our culture. As quantifying it becomes more widespread across the industry, procurement teams will have an objective measure to help award contracts based on overall value delivered rather than purely on cost.


To learn more about our approach to social value visit our transport infrastructure resource centre or contact Mike Todd (mike.todd@octaviusinfrastructure.co.uk).

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