Creating a legacy through social value
The Enabling Works Contractor (EWC) on the southern section of HS2 undertook a revolutionary approach to creating legacy through opportunities for skills, jobs, education and the economy by its investment in social value across the route. By working closely with suppliers and stakeholders, the EWC looked to attract, develop, and retain a diverse workforce with skills, not only to provide work for the programme, but also assist in addressing the national construction skills shortage. The EWC’s work in skills, education, and employment has gone beyond the contractual requirements associated with construction programmes and seen the team reach out to the most vulnerable people in society to support their social mobility and provide opportunities to thrive.
This approach of creating a strategy, which has the community at its heart and is measured by social value, will be of interest to all projects who want to deliver focused and sustainable community benefits.
Background and industry context
Legacy is embedded in one of seven strategic goals of the High Speed Two (HS2) programme. Social value considers the wider economic, social, and environmental effects of the actions of the contractor. By measuring activities, the outputs can be expressed in financial terms, allowing greater understanding of the effect the project has on the long-term wellbeing and resilience of communities, translating into social value. Social value is a story about the changes experienced by people. It includes qualitative, quantitative, and comparative information in relation to how we have affected people’s lives.
The Enabling Works Contract (EWC) on the southern section of High Speed Two (HS2) Phase One includes demolition of buildings within the wider Euston area, utility diversions, environmental and ecological monitoring and a programme of historic environment and archaeological activities, delivered by the Costain Skanska joint venture (CSjv).
As part of their legacy commitments, the EWC’s approach was to combine all teams that interfaced with the community to create a single integrated Legacy team. The sole purpose of this team was to focus on delivering contractual commitments to HS2 alongside a legacy of economic growth and sustainable jobs for the communities living around the sites, with a clear vision to support those that were most vulnerable through a social value programme.
Developing strong partnerships with key organisations to fully understand the needs of the community has been crucial to supporting the social value programme. Through these partnerships, local solutions have been found to support these community needs as collaboratively as possible. By working with small local charities and organisations that understand the grassroots issues in each of the programme’s boroughs in London, solutions were found regarding employing local people, supporting young people in their educational journey, housing and employing the homeless, and supporting local community projects.
By bringing together the Skills, Employment and Education team, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, the Community and Stakeholder team, Recruitment and the supply chain partners, the EWC has ensured that no opportunities to support local people have been missed, including providing a platform to change the perception of the project and the prospects that a large infrastructure programme can bring to the local community.
It was initially difficult to demonstrate and quantify the value of the programme’s approach and outcomes, as only a proportion of outcomes were reported to HS2 as contractually required. It was therefore important to explore other methods of evaluating both the change effected on individual lives and the value of the social programme.
Social value measurement is becoming increasingly standardised and, as part of this, the Social Value Portal launched the National Social Value Measurement Framework, known as the National TOMs Framework, (2019). ‘TOMS’ describes:
- Themes – the components of an organisation’s ‘vision’ for social value.
- Outcomes – the positive changes that the organisation wants to see.
- Measures – what objective indicators will be used to measure whether these outcomes are being met.
Reviewed and endorsed by the National Social Value Taskforce, this framework comprises a series of objectively researched standalone measures which can be extended or reduced without compromising the integrity of the framework, provided that a consistent methodological approach is taken. Environmental, social and economic activities are all identified and aligned to appropriate measures, many of which have been developed with ‘proxy values’ expressed in financial terms. While certain aspects of social value are subjective and therefore difficult to quantify financially, the TOMs Framework provides a useful starting point and common language for measurement.
Working with the Social Value Portal, the EWC undertook a retrospective social value exercise to analyse the data captured over the three years of delivery and quantify the programme in financial terms.
The outcome of bringing together the programme’s local success with Procurement, Legacy, Environment, and Wellbeing totalled £115.5M, with the total local value added at 26.9% of total project spend, which was found to be significantly higher than the average construction project. Case studies were also captured to show the positive human outcomes to those supported.
The outcomes of the independent review showed that, during the Enabling Works Contract, some significant outcomes were delivered to support local supply chain and businesses to win HS2 contracts. A share of 25% of contract value was awarded locally, with 50% of that spent in the most deprived areas.
Alongside this, focused and collaborative employment activities have also resulted in 450 local people gaining full time employment on the project. Working alongside our supply chain and local partners, CSjv has been successful in employing over 200 previously unemployed people and is working with Care Leavers, ex-offenders, survivors of modern slavery and the homeless to ensure opportunities are shared first- hand to support positive life changes.
An educational programme has seen over 11,000 young people supported with STEM activities through schools and local clubs, and 2,250 work placement days have been delivered onsite to support the attraction of STEM subjects and career choices.
CSjv took the unique decision to combine all teams that interfaced with the community to create the legacy team, whose sole purpose was to raise the industry bar and focus on exceeding our contractual commitments to HS2, alongside delivering a legacy of economic growth and sustainable jobs for the communities living around our sites, with a clear vision to support those that were most vulnerable. Along with this collaborative approach of community-focused delivery, we utilised the data already captured for HS2 to break down and use in a slightly different way to calculate local benefits and social value created, something all projects could be doing with small changes to our current data collection. This approach has seen us break down all social benefits delivered in a borough and be able to communicate this to the local authority with both a financial figure and with local social benefits, contributing to their local priorities and economic growth plans, documenting the local investment HS2 is bringing to communities.
Embedding social value at the start of the project would have provided the opportunity to measure additional outcomes; it was only possible to measure the outcomes on which comprehensive data had been collected. Social value has given the EWC the platform to measure and communicate all the social activities delivered on the project, not just the required outcomes of the contract.
Supporting local communities is fundamental to our values and beliefs, and supporting the most vulnerable is key. The EWC’s approach has provided support to one of the most in-need groups in the community: homeless people. With local support, the first floating homeless hub on a construction site has been delivered and the new Buses 4 Homeless project has been housed. CSjv is also offering training and full-time roles through the supply chain to those individuals being supported through the project.
The learning legacy is that we should all be using social value to highlight the community benefits of the project, and by taking a collaborative project approach we can deliver and report more benefits to government and the community than we currently do.
Large infrastructure projects have the ability to deliver huge positive benefits to the community. Creating a comprehensive strategy, which has the community at its heart and is measured by social value, allows projects to deliver focused and sustainable community benefits and leave a legacy of employment and economic growth for years to come. CSjv has challenged the industry to raise the bar across future programmes.
The author wishes to thank all those who have contributed to the successful implementation of CSjv’s legacy strategy. These include:
- Social Value Portal
- Frankie Jones (Former SEE Manager)
- Megan Prigmore (Former SEE Manager)
- Amy Cable (Former SEE Manager)
- Tania Jacobs (Former Community Investment Manager)
- Neal Carter (Former Deputy Programme Director)
Thanks also go to CSjv Senior Leadership team and delivery teams who embraced this new way of working.
 NATIONAL TOMs FRAMEWORK 2019 for social value measurement, National TOMs 2019 Guidance 1.0.pdf (local.gov.uk) accessed 10 Feb 2022
 National Social Value Taskforce National Social Value Taskforce accessed 10 Feb 2022