BDC

Search
BDC Magazine

csr

RTPI calls for £500m boost to England’s planning system in CSR response

Half a billion pounds must be injected into the England’s planning system over the next four years to ensure the government’s objectives on housing, beauty, climate, the economy and health can be achieved, according to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). In its formal response to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR),

Read More »

Pushing CSR in Small-Scale Projects, A Step in the Right Direction for SMEs

Increasingly there are levels of pressure being placed upon industry organisations to operate in a more responsible manner, with great encouragement from government, industry associations and peers alike to display role model conduct on areas of corporate responsibility. Yet, with the very concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) being such

Read More »

Importance of Outlining and Measuring Social Value in FM Projects

In a recent report, it has been stated that social goals must be outlined in a clear and concise manner before then being integrated into FM contracts. Nodding to clear best practice methods and encouraging a manageable approach to corporate social responsibility with respect to communities, the report, published by

Read More »

Latest Issue

BDC 319 : Aug 2024

csr

RTPI calls for £500m boost to England’s planning system in CSR response

Half a billion pounds must be injected into the England’s planning system over the next four years to ensure the government’s objectives on housing, beauty, climate, the economy and health can be achieved, according to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). In its formal response to the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the Institute sets out the vital role planning plays in facilitating economic growth, providing affordable housing, tackling climate change, ensuring access to green space and improving wellbeing. It says without significant investment, the government’s ambitions for the planning system, set out in a white paper published earlier this month, cannot be realised. Victoria Hills, chief executive of the RTPI, said: “The drive for new infrastructure, housing and progress towards net zero will create major additional need for planning services in the coming years. The planning system has been severely under-resourced for decades which has had implications not just for efficiency of process, but for the capacity of professional planners to apply their knowledge and lead on strategic place-making. “The government has set out its ambitions to ‘radically overhaul’ the planning system, but to deliver on these ambitions they will need professional planners. The development sector is crying out for support. Without adequate investment, this simply will not be possible.” The response, which comes ahead of the RTPI’s Invest and Prosper report, due to be published in October, says a new Planning Delivery Fund of £500m is required to enable the planning system to deliver outcomes efficiently, effectively and equitably. It would replace the existing fund, which was announced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in February 2017 in a white paper, Fixing our Broken Housing Market. It allocated £25m between 2017-18 and 2019-20 to ‘support ambitious authorities in areas of high housing need to plan for new homes and infrastructure’. But only £15.8m was awarded to successful bidder in the first wave of funding, with the remaining £10m not being spent. This compares to a £150m a year (figure adjusted for inflation) Planning Delivery Grant to support local planning authorities between 2004 and 2008. The RTPI’s proposals comprise of nine sub-funds to enable investment into specific government priorities. It also calls for the funding to be ring-fenced and to be distributed fairly across all local authorities according to the number of people who live there, the scale of the development pressure and current levels of resourcing: Plan Making fund – £170 million The government has has said all local authorities must have an up to date local plan by 2023 but has not made any additional funding available. The Planning Delivery Fund would fund 50% of the costs of doing this. Design quality fund – £81 million The RTPI has welcomed the Government’s renewed commitment to high quality design, exemplified in its support for the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission. This funding would enable the delivery of the government’s ambitions for Design Codes in every local authority. Monitoring and enforcement fund – £67 million To allow local authorities to do proper assessment of what is actually being delivered through the planning system and how well the local plan is being delivered and issue enforcement proceedings. Digital transformation fund – £46 million To help support the digital transformation of planning – saving money in the medium and long term and freeing up planners’ time to plan. The existing Innovation Fnd has provided limited support (£1m between 6 LAs and one charity) Wider placemaking fund – £100 million To bring a range of place-focused professionals to local authorities, such as architects, urban designers and ecologists, and to incentivise those outside of local planning authorities, such as public health colleagues, to engage with the planning process to enable the delivery of healthy communities. Joint working fund – £15 million To enable strategic reviews of green belt, waste management and housing targets. Community engagement fund – £50 million The government has repeatedly suggested it would like participation to happen upstream – with earlier engagement for communities at plan making stage. The Planning Delivery fund should provide grant for authorities to engage in rich community participation at the earliest possible stage, for example through deliberative panels. Climate Action – £67 million To deliver the equivalent of one FTE planner to work exclusively on climate proofing policy and development management in each local authority. The Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero UK report demonstrated there had been little or no progress in reducing carbon emissions of buildings or surface transport. Planning is part of the solution. Capacity building fund – £17m District Councils report that planning roles are the most difficult to fill out of all roles. This fund would comprise of £4m to support talent development from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and 13m to enable the country’s 11,000 public sector planners to attend five one-day courses a year over a period of four years.

Read More »

Bouygues UK CSR Manager appointed as one of Wales’ first Fairness, Inclusion and Respect Ambassadors

Increasing Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) throughout the construction sector supply chain is one of the challenges facing Julie Timothy of Bouygues UK, as she has been appointed one of Wales’ first FIR ambassadors. As part of the work of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, FIR Ambassadors have been trained and appointed in the construction sector to imbed principles of equality and diversity into their companies. With that in mind, Julie Timothy, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager for Bouygues UK for South Wales and the West, has been appointed as a FIR Ambassador. Speaking of her new role, Julie said: “Bouygues UK is already a forward-thinking and inclusive company, but with my FIR Ambassador role I can work to further imbed these practices into our supply chain, to ensure that all who work with Bouygues UK, whether a sub-contractor or employee, are treated with fairness and respect. “Construction is seen as a bullish and macho industry, but in truth it is a professional and highly skilled sector which employs a diverse and varied workforce, which is why I feel it is even more important that FIR Ambassadors are in place to ensure these key behaviours are maintained.” The Supply Chain School in Wales has been created to provide support to organisations by providing free resources enabling construction companies to understand what sustainability in construction means in Wales. It is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). The CITB predicts that Wales will lead growth in the UK’s construction sector until 2020, with an estimated 12,250 jobs created over the next five years. The industry also has to tackle the challenges of different regulations on building sites in Wales because of devolution. FIR Ambassadors are important for the future of the construction sector; the skills shortage in the industry means that organisations need a wide talent pool so increasing diversity in this talent pool helps to address this – and a diverse workforce also ensures that companies are able to reflect the diverse needs of their clients. Small to medium construction businesses are being encouraged to join the FIR Ambassadors scheme, to help encourage these good behaviours throughout the construction sector, support compliance within the sector and help create an open, positive and inclusive working environment. As the FIR Ambassador scheme is funded by the CITB, e-learning modules, workshops and training are all free to access. The benefits to SME building businesses in embracing the FIR scheme include better productivity, improved staff engagement and innovation, a way to attract new talent to the business and an improved reputation. For more information about the FIR Ambassador Scheme, please visit https://www.supplychainschool.co.uk/uk/fir/construction/ambassadors/ambassadors.aspx

Read More »

Pushing CSR in Small-Scale Projects, A Step in the Right Direction for SMEs

Increasingly there are levels of pressure being placed upon industry organisations to operate in a more responsible manner, with great encouragement from government, industry associations and peers alike to display role model conduct on areas of corporate responsibility. Yet, with the very concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) being such a vast and nigh-on all-encompassing sector, it can be considered quite easy for organisations to get bogged down in the million and one ways to move forward; effectively, where to start? Now, of course most organisations recognise some of the key areas of corporate social responsibility, which traditionally revolve around sustainability, environmental concerns, health and safety, local community works, providing benefits around those works being performed, providing personal development and opportunities for workers, and also supply chain transparencies. But with so much included in the CSR agenda, it can be very difficult for organisations to push the envelope on each of these areas simultaneously, or so it may seem. Increasingly, key players in the construction industry have been perceived to try and meld different aspects of CSR temporarily, creating and undertaking projects where multiple boxes in the corporate responsibility agenda can be ticked all at once – and then being singular in nature, making this far more easy for organisation’s to manage. For example; when undertaking projects in a community, interaction with that community is highlighted as being of considerable importance, yet it’s key to address the form of communication and channels thereof. Through interaction with local educational establishments, such as schools, construction companies have been seen to partner and work across the CSR spectrum most effectively: examples may include talks on environmental best practice, the importance of safety around construction sites and more. What this means effectively is that, while it can be difficult for organisations to arrange complete strategies for CSR, especially in those organisations with smaller operational teams and controls, this does not mean that progress cannot be made in the field. Through thinking small-scale and creating targeted CSR-relevant projects, even the smallest of organisations can make a difference in a controlled, easy to manage environment.

Read More »

Importance of Outlining and Measuring Social Value in FM Projects

In a recent report, it has been stated that social goals must be outlined in a clear and concise manner before then being integrated into FM contracts. Nodding to clear best practice methods and encouraging a manageable approach to corporate social responsibility with respect to communities, the report, published by Acclaro Advisory, has been created from correspondence with twenty seven leading FM providers, local councils, literature review and survey undertaken online. Nodding to the importance of assessing the requirements for social value to be made unavoidably apparent in the contract itself, project commissioners highlight the way in which additional security can be provided as to the potential benefits and opportunities to be fostered over the course of the project. Yet, the report outlines a potential lack of understanding as to the potential social value which FM providers can actually offer during projects, with both such FM providers and clients acknowledging that fact. Aiming to adapt the communication between project commissioners and FM providers, the report also provides insight into how the two parties can better discuss the potential for social value and come to realistic, achievable goals for social benefit; this is highlighted trough the provision of best practice case studies and practical examples. In addition to stressing the importance of communication on social goals and the way in which contracts are arranged, the report also discusses the important requirement for having clearly defined measurement criteria for the social value. Recognising, however, that there are individual, unique, contributing factors towards how this much be measured in each contract, the report then nods to the construction sector as an example where criteria for such goals has already been put in place. Of course, the report, while something which organisations on both sides of the fence would need to take heed of, is, in effect for the benefit of all those involved and will support the culmination of greater social value on individual projects – a positive future to strive towards.

Read More »