Housing associations and community mutuals are key economic players in Wales, not only as landlords and developers, but in their wider role as investors in the regeneration of local communities. Our members work closely with local government, third sector organisations and the Welsh Government to provide a range of services in communities across Wales.
In 2013/2014, housing associations and community mutuals spent £1.034bn in Wales); £514m of this (excluding staff costs) was spent directly on regeneration communities.
Our members deliver a range of Community Benefits through their contracts with suppliers, which they evidence through using the Value Wales Community Benefits Measurement Toolkit. In 2014, of the completed Community Benefits Measurement Tools returned to Welsh Government, 52% came from the housing sector.
The outcomes play a role in tackling rising poverty and improving social mobility in communities by adding community benefit clauses to supplier contracts. For example, recruiting local people from disadvantaged groups involves little or no extra cost, boosts the local economy and benefits contractors, who get a skilled and committed workforce.
Our members deliver the following types of Community Benefits through their contracts with suppliers:
- Workforce initiatives Workforce initiatives cover Targeted Recruitment &Training (TR&T) – including Retention and Training for the existing workforce. In 2013/2014, for every one full time person employed in the sector, one and a half other jobs are supported within the Welsh economy.
- Supply chain initiatives Targeting supply chain opportunities to smaller and more local suppliers. In 2013/2014, 81% of Welsh housing association spend was retained in Wales.
- Community initiatives Cash and in kind contributions from the supplier to local community projects
- Educational initiatives Work experience placements for school or college students, site visits or classroom work supported by the contractor
- Environmental initiatives Use of renewable energy, reduction in waste, recycling of materials and reduction in travel
- Equality and diversity Considering equality issues in procurement
Case Study 1: Arbed 2, Melin Homes and Welsh Government
Arbed 2 is a £14.3 m ERDF and Welsh Government funded scheme to retro fit energy efficiency measures for residential properties across south Wales.
•100% (£14.3m) went to businesses and on salaries to people living in Wales:
– £9m as revenue to Wales based businesses;
– £5.35m as salaries to Welsh citizens;
• 45 disadvantaged people helped into employment;
• £256k Savings to HM Treasury;
• 100% sub-contractors paid within 30 days;
• 9 Apprenticeships;
•238 Apprenticeship weeks.
The Welsh Local Multiplier calculated by the Community Benefits Measurement tool showed £2 for every pound spent and the total benefit to the Welsh and UK economy from the £14.3m spent to be around £29m.
Case Study 2: United Welsh Housing Association: Splitting contracts to enable SMEs to participate
In two housing refurbishments in Cardiff, United Welsh piloted a direct management approach – purchasing the materials and procuring local SMEs on a labour-only basis. The value of each contract was therefore much smaller and viable for local SMEs to bid for. This maximised opportunities for local businesses and workers, provided the client with better control of the development process, and produced a 20% cost saving.