Neal Carter, Programme Director at Costain, reflects with Quadrant Transport on his experiences of the industry-leading social value programme developed by the Costain Skanska Joint Venture team delivering the HS2 Enabling Works – and how it could serve as a blueprint for best practice across the country.
Reflecting on the achievements of the Costain Skanska Joint Venture (CSjv) team delivering the HS2 Enabling Works, Neal simply says: “For me, this was why I wanted to become an engineer. I genuinely believe that major infrastructure projects can dramatically improve people’s lives – and it’s not just about the destination, the journey counts too.”
Over the last four years, Neal has experienced first-hand the positive difference that can be made by working closely with local communities and taking the time to understand their unique needs. Now he is committed to ensuring that other programmes benefit from the CSjv’s learnings.
To find out more about the CSjv social value programme and how it was tailored to the needs of its community, please click here.
- Delivering activities verified by the Social Value Portal as equivalent to £115m of social and economic value
- Reaching over 11,000 school students
- Creating jobs for over 200 previously unemployed people
- Creating 42 apprenticeships in quantity surveying, business administration, security, and civil engineering
- Helping nine homeless people to find full time jobs working for HS2 at our Euston and Old Oak Common sites
“We’ve learned so many things working with seven very different London boroughs. Our programme has been very successful because it has been bigger than any one organisation – it is a reflection of just what can be achieved through true collaboration.”
We’ve learned so many things working with seven very different London boroughs. Our programme has been very successful because it has been bigger than any one organisation – it is a reflection of just what can be achieved through true collaboration
Here are Neal’s recommendations for future projects:
- A successful social value programme needs to be driven by the team’s shared values and commitment to making it a success.
- While no two communities are the same, if you give your community a voice and let that voice guide your programme, then it becomes a tool of empowerment and can be used to help tackle inequalities.
- Design your social value legacy with the end goal in sight – in five- or 10-years’ time, how will it have shaped the community’s prospects?
- Two – or five – heads are better than one: the strength of your programme is in the strength of its partnerships. In the case of the HS2 Enabling Works, we partnered with our local community and in the summer, we also became a founding partner of the Empowering Communities initiative. This meant that we were able to maximise the support which we could offer by working with industry partners.
- Measure by outcome: you need to measure the success of your activities to show the impact of your support, which might take the form of time, mentoring, sponsoring of a shared venture, outreach or educational activities. To do this, it is crucial that you evaluate the outcome of your efforts.
Making this work across the country
Neal concludes: “We share the CBI’s conviction that social value should be embedded within public/private partnerships and have direct experience of the benefits this approach can bring to local communities.
We share the CBI’s conviction that social value should be embedded within public/private partnerships
As new major infrastructure projects begin, they have the potential to act as a lever for levelling up communities by providing new opportunities based on what each community needs.”
If you would like to have a conversation about best practice for developing your social value programme, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org