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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

WJ drives £70m worth of social value in single year

WJ Group has reported over £70m of social value for 2021, following the successful deployment of its long-term nationwide strategy.

Using measurement and valuation principles from the National TOMs (Themes, Outcomes and Measures) framework, WJ has achieved the impressive figures through a combination of live project delivery and local initiatives designed to support communities. These include community investments, employee wellbeing support and personal development.

WJ’s £70m social value is broken into four themes – employment and economic opportunities, social and environmental benefits – with the company using its bespoke Social Value Calculator across all projects to quantify its social value contributions. It includes local employment, apprenticeship hours, money spent with the UK supply chain and carbon savings.

WJ’s calculator enables informed conversations with clients to help them better understand their local economic, environmental and social value impact across large contracts. Crucially, it allows WJ to develop a localised social value strategy for individual contracts or wider regional partnerships.

Paul Aldridge, Sustainability Director at WJ, said: “Social value has been at the heart of WJ’s operations for the past decade and we are proud to be able to share our learnings. For example, when we developed our Croydon depot in 2013, we wanted to ensure we created a positive local impact. This was achieved through the creation of opportunities for local people and under-represented groups and working with VCSEs to provide opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and young offenders. We also employed diverse local SMEs and limited the environmental impact on the immediate area.

“Now, we have been able to develop our verified social value calculator, using the National TOMs framework to base line and demonstrate our impact. We can see – with some considerable granularity – the value we have created, allowing us to understand how and where we add value by local authority area, National Highways and Transport Scotland regions. This includes how we support employment, local spend, the environment, innovation, as well as wider community projects and volunteering. The line-by-line detail on the project enables us to create a detailed and consistent valuation of our work.”

Demonstrating social value has increased in importance since the introduction of PPN 06/20, requiring organisations to demonstrate a commitment to – and delivery of – social value in the procurement of government contracts. With more pressure than ever to show value, using methodologies such as the National TOMs framework, can help the construction supply chain prove their positive local impact when working on projects.

Paul added: “Community is a core value for WJ and we knew that we were creating local social and economic value. Developing the calculator has enabled us to measure, understand and reflect on added value work we provide in supporting local communities. The data we collect is comprehensive, while the independent verification undertaken means we can confidently use the data to work with our clients and supply chain partners to add value where it is needed most.

“Crucially, we are always evolving our social value offering, to ensure we provide the most accurate information. Our calculator is the latest development in a decade’s worth of work, and we have certainly seen the value it brings and the potential for the future. Delivering social value as a holistic component of operations is becoming the norm, it will develop further and shape purpose and delivery going forward.”

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