New guidance will ensure more community benefits from construction contracts, says Jane Hutt

23 Jul 2014 04:17 PM

Updated guidance to improve the impact of the Welsh Government’s Community Benefits policy for construction contracts which generate jobs and training opportunities, has been launched by Finance Minister Jane Hutt 

The Community Benefits policy builds social clauses into construction contracts to ensure Welsh businesses, individuals and communities benefit from public sector contracts.  Martin Mansfield led a Task and Finish Group which has helped to produce the updated guidance being published yesterday.    

Jane Hutt said:

"Our Community Benefits policy is having a real impact on how we maximise the benefits we get from the public money we spend.  Providing opportunities for employment and training to disadvantaged individuals not only transforms their lives but can also have a positive affect on their families, as well as the wider community.

"Results from the first 35 projects worth £465m show that 85% has been re-invested in Wales - £124m directly on salaries to Welsh citizens, and £277m with Wales-based businesses, 80% of which were Welsh SMEs. Some 562 disadvantaged people have been helped into employment, receiving over 15,000 weeks of training.

"This illustrates how applying the Community Benefits policy is making a significant contribution to the Welsh Government’s ambitions for jobs, growth and tackling poverty in Wales.

"Despite the huge progress we have made since the publication of the first Community Benefits guidance in 2010 there are still areas that could be strengthened.  

"Today I’m launching updated guidance that puts community benefits at the core of public sector contracts.  We know that the delivery of Community Benefits is best delivered through a collaborative approach between industry and the public sector so I hope this updated guidance will help all parties work together to exchange ideas and best practice."  

A report commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation - ‘Tackling Poverty through Public Procurement in the UK’, recently highlighted the approach taken in Wales as  effective and progressive.

Richard Macfarlane, who wrote the report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation added:

"Wales has led the way in developing procurement methods that maximise the delivery of community benefits, and rolling these out across the public sector. It is good to see this translating into so many job and training opportunities. Targeting the benefits at young and marginalised job-seekers will help them develop the skills and track record they need to compete in the labour market and thereby avoid them slipping into poverty."