Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) | A Mott MacDonald Breakfast Roundtable

On Wednesday 26th July, we were joined by Sue Hurrell, Head of Fair Work Procurement at Welsh Government, for the latest on new legislation that will give employers and employees a voice in the way Wales is run. This Act also includes Wales’s first piece of primary legislation on procurement. Public bodies will be required to deliver socially responsible procurement, which means putting environmental, social, economic and cultural well-being at the heart of an £8bn annual procurement spend.

Sue highlighted the extraordinary potential to consider and set social benefits during the planning and scoping phases of projects. This Act will then attempt to bring multiple social outcomes together though the procurement phase. But how will the processes and contract clauses being developed be applied consistently throughout the supply chain? Supporting local economies and the supply chain will need to balance requirements without being a blocker to effective procurement.

Catherine Griffith-Williams, CEO Constructing Excellence in Wales, then facilitated a rich conversation about the benefits and challenges of in operationalising the procurement outcomes. How do we navigate multiple construction sector reforms to realise practical outcomes that can be delivered by project teams? More training will be required to practically implement the Act. Tony Norris, Geldards LLP, reinforced the need to train and educate people in the delivery mechanisms required in Wales.

Sophie Shuttleworth, Principal Social Outcomes Consultant Mott MacDonald, added that we need to make conversations about social outcomes the norm amongst government clients, the private sector, and project management practitioners.  What will be required to comply with the SPPW Act, but more importantly, what will good look like?

A resonating theme from participants was that the market is ready to change but is government ready to act and enforce?