People, Places, Business

Procuring the maximum benefits

Procuring the maximum benefit for Neath Port Talbot

Neath Port Talbot Council’s approach to ensuring community benefits from its procurement activities is achieving results.

Awel y Mor School

The Council is a major buyer of goods, services and works and has also been successful in securing substantial amounts of funding for regeneration and construction projects across the County Borough.

Funding from both the public and private sector has led to major schemes such as town centre regeneration programmes, infrastructure projects, new schools and housing developments.

Part of the Council’s procurement process requires companies to consider and include reference to delivering benefits to local communities as part of their contract submission.

Community benefits cover a whole range of areas and may include training and employment opportunities for local people; improved supply chain opportunities for local businesses; and educational contributions to local schools and colleges.

The Council’s approach to deriving community benefits from construction contracts has been successfully developed over the last few years, working with companies on major projects such as the refurbishment of the Gwyn Hall in Neath, and the construction of Harbour Way and Croeserw Community Enterprise Centre.

A more recent example is Awel Y Môr Primary School, a £7m contract to construct a new primary school to accommodate pupils from Glan Y Môr and Tir Morfa Primary schools and Tŷ Afan Unit.

Throughout the duration of the contract, the Council’s Business Development and South West Workways teams worked closely with Dawnus Construction to support the delivery of community benefits. Some key achievements include 13 local companies becoming approved suppliers to Dawnus and 19 previously unemployed local people securing permanent employment with either the main contractor or sub-contractors.

Dawnus Construction also delivered learning experiences to local children, including sponsoring local primary school children to attend sports events, delivering health and safety talks to over 300 pupils and delivering mock interview sessions in four comprehensive schools.

This approach has meant that for every pound spent on the project £1.64 is reinvested in the Welsh economy, resulting in an overall contribution of over £11.5m.

The Awel Y Môr Primary School project has been short listed in the RICS Wales Awards 2014 in the ‘Community Benefits’ category.

Council Leader Cllr Ali Thomas said: “Neath Port Talbot Council is committed to maximising the value of every pound it spends. Creating local job opportunities is one of our key priorities and it is vital that we make the most of investment and construction projects in the County Borough to benefit local people and businesses. This important economic development activity will continue to be an important feature of any future projects”.

Dawnus Project Manager, Hadley Hands said: “We were more than pleased to work with Neath Port Talbot Council throughout the duration of the contract on delivering recruitment and training opportunities for local people”.

“The approach we adopted meant 19 job opportunities were created on site and more than 135 apprenticeship training weeks being completed”.

“We were also keen to give local businesses a helping hand and worked hard to achieve 80% spend with small to medium sized Welsh based companies”.

The Council is working with a number of investment projects and developers to deliver community benefits including Swansea University’s Bay Campus, Pen Y Cymoedd wind energy project and the redevelopment of Port Talbot Parkway Station.