As Scotland Excel celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, director Julie Welsh discusses the organisation’s progress with housing associations and highlights the launch of its New Build Housing framework.
During the past decade, we have worked hard to transform how Scotland’s local government sector buys essential goods and services to make sure it gets the best value when spending public money.
When we launched in 2008 the value of our contracts was £100 million a year and that has grown to its current value of £1 billion annually.
Over the past ten years we’ve also worked closely with our members to help them save around £150 million.
But cost savings are only part of the story. Built into our contracts are social benefits, from encouraging employers to pay the living wage to promoting apprenticeships and creating jobs. To date, 247 jobs and 200 apprenticeships have been created through our contracts.
Housing Associations are increasingly seeing the benefits of working with us. In fact, in the past year 15 have joined as associate members, not only to access the benefits our contracts bring, but to work with us on improving their procurement practice.
We’re delighted that our associate members list has grown and now includes a total of 20 housing associations.
Scotland Excel has always acted as a leader of positive change. We’ve helped to raise the profile of public procurement by championing its potential to shape markets, support policy priorities and, ultimately, ensure the sustainable delivery of the services that every community needs. Housing is one area where we’re working to transform the delivery landscape.
The Scottish Government has committed to delivering 50,000 homes by 2021, 35,000 of which will be for social rent.
Local government and the affordable housing sector will need to undertake considerable procurement activity to meet this ambitious target.
To help mark our 10th anniversary, we are announcing a New Build Housing framework that will help to deliver these much-needed affordable new homes. This will help councils and housing associations find the best suppliers to build affordable housing projects across the country, shortening project timescales, securing best value and ultimately, helping to address housing need.
This national approach will generate significant operational efficiencies, particularly around developing technical specifications, as well as mitigating potential bottlenecks within the procurement process. Additional benefits will also be delivered through the new build programme, including social value.
Importantly for the Scottish economy, we encourage a range of businesses across the country to tender for work. Our new build framework will build on this by encouraging opportunities to be made available to local businesses.
In fact, 70 per cent of current suppliers are SMEs and 70 per cent of those are Scottish – ensuring economic benefits are achieved across the country.
Since we started, we’ve always strived to provide innovative, transformative procurement solutions for public services across Scotland. We look forward to continuing to do so in the years ahead, starting with our new build housing framework.
- Julie Welsh is director of Scotland Excel