Modern Slavery Bill: transforming construction CSR and supply chain management.

No responsible organisation in construction would want any association with modern day construction slavery, forced employment, child or migrant exploitation as we read increasingly often in the mainstream news, for example Qatar construction or closer to home with construction gangmaster organisations. Hence the Modern Slavery Bill should be welcomed by the built environment sector.

Included within the Modern Slavery Bill introduced on 31 August 2015 (coming into affect on 31 October 2015) is a clause that has significance for most construction organisations – the Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC) clause.

We have introduced a transparency in supply chains clause to the Modern Slavery Bill. This will require businesses above a certain size threshold to disclose each year what they have done to ensure that there is no modern slavery in their supply chains and own business. This will be a truly world-leading measure. There are similar transparency requirements in California, but they only apply to businesses producing goods for sale, whereas this disclosure will apply regardless of what it supplies, whether goods or services.
Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, Karen Bradley

What does the Bill and Transparency Clause mean for construction:

Chris Blythe, CE CIOB in Foreword to the CIOB Dark Side of Construction publication: The dark side – the systematic exploitation of millions of vulnerable migrants – is rarely acknowledged, even by the clients and multinationals that commission and create our shiny new cities. Our sector is rife with human rights abuses. Bonded labour, delayed wages, abysmal working and living conditions, withholding of passports and limitations of movement are all forms of modern slavery.

The scope of the TISC clause will cover construction products companies importing goods or components to the UK, as well as contractors and consultancies operating in the home markets and/or overseas.

The Modern Slavery Bill (with its Transparency in Supply Chains clause) will transform and elevate construction CSR and Supply Chain Management as important legislative responsibility processes.

Organisations with a turnover of £36 million will have to:

  • publish a “slavery and human trafficking statement” setting out the steps it has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in its supply chains and within its own business.
  • From October 2016, to publicly share their policies and strategies to tackle modern slavery in their supply chains.

Guidance on what might be included in such a statement:

  • Companies’ due diligence processes relating to slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains;
  • Reporting on the parts of companies’ supply chains where there is a risk of slavery and trafficking taking place, and how to assess and manage such a risk;
  • Reporting on staff training on slavery and human trafficking;
  • Reporting on companies’ effectiveness in ensuring that slavery and trafficking are not taking place in their businesses or supply chains.

“Implications of non-compliance with this reporting obligation in such a morally compelling context could leave a large dent in an otherwise sterling company reputation” Victoria Ball, projects & construction associate at law firm Trowers & Hamlins

“It will involve a deep dive into the supply chain to understand what’s really going on many tiers down – getting visibility of the many layers to truly see the conditions of workers at the bottom of the chain. The message to companies is clear – it is no longer an option to stay below the radar, refuse to take responsibility for problems in your supply chain and hope you won’t get exposed.”Cindy Berman, head of knowledge & learning ETI

What is not so clear is where the responsibility under the Bill rests for SME’s below the threshold that have organisations above the threshold within their supply chains. Most construction organisations procuring goods and services from large product distributors or manufacturers.

Actions construction and built environment organisations should take?

  • Embed Modern Slavery into CSR policies and statements, where, arguably there should be a statement anyway if base on a recognised CSR structures(eg ISO 26001, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), JUST, Global Compact or the Human Rights Charter)
  • Understand the concept of Transparency in Supply Chains (TISC)
  • Include questions statements in supplier procurement processes. (And probably best to do so for all suppliers who are close to or over the threshold)
  • Develop a PQQ and Project Bid standard text.
  • Understand what an annual“slavery and human trafficking statement” for your organisation could look like

And of course, these good practices should be adopted even if below the £36million turnover threshold as a matter of social responsible construction.

Sources:

Related iSite blogs:

JUST: a social justice label for construction …

Constructing CSR iTransparency 

Understanding CSR in Construction

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Are you running on Square Wheels?

Have we wasted a good crisis?

In an earlier blog post I used the expression of pedalling squares to illustrate how progress and development in sustainability is often a clunky and inefficient activity. Recently, for a number of workshops and presentations I also revisited a cartoon I had used in previous ‘business improvement’ roles and TQM days  – the very clever square wheels approach from squarewheels.com

There is so much we can talk about here:

The obvious is that we struggle with square wheels and clunky approaches, when the more efficient round wheels are available –  we know about them – but they are just used.

Within construction we have some great new round wheels available to us that will improve our business, our services to clients and image, for eg BIM, Social Media, Circular Economy and Restorative Sustainability to name a few. These nice new shiny round wheels – carried and not used – are necessary in a construction organisations baggage – we need to use them in PQQ, PR and interviews to demonstrate a sense of being tuned into current industry improvement programmes.

But looking closer, the poor leader is up front dragging this inefficient cart – hopefully with a sense of direction, usually based on profit, turnover and immediate customer needs, but lacking real vision and foresight – otherwise the new round wheels would be used.

Behind the cart we have employees, pushing with the energy sapping stop/start rythym that only square wheels can give, but unable or not allowed to see ahead and understand where the business is heading.

Not an efficient model. Does this describe your view of construction or your organisation?

Many organisations have started to do a wheel change – some encouraged through the never waste a good crisis thinking – seeing the lean times as time for investment in the future, some through Innovation Vouchers or other funded support.

Think about starting 2014 with a more efficient approach by understanding how organisations – often your competitors – are implementing new wheels.  Find out more.

Related:

Sustainability: in equilibrium … or pedalling squares?

A TQM for the social media, digital age?

Understanding the Social Value Act for better bids …

The Social Value Act 2012 was established in part to help understand the difference between a contracts cost and a contracts value and to encourage greater collaboration between voluntary, community and private sectors.

Bid responses for public sector work can be greatly improved by a through understanding of and addressing the concepts of the act. Waste and recycling company Veolia Environment Services have recently released a new and useful youtube video explaining the Social Value Act from their perspective

Also, from – Towards New Innovative Collaborations

The Social Value Act 2012 introduces social benefits into public procurement of private services. It requires local authorities and other commissioners of public services to consider how their services can benefit people living in the local community. Under this legislation, local authority procurers must now consider how they can improve the social impact of their public service contracts before they start the procurement process.  More…

Finally PAS91 update issued.

At last, the updated version of PAS 91 Construction prequalification questionnaires has been issued and is available as a free download on the BSi website.

The updated version is aligned to the Government Construction Strategy and set to be madatory for Government projects from 2016, hence is aligned to BIM level 2 requirements for the same year.

In preparation for the Government BIM mandate, optional questions have been included within PAS 91 examining competence in BIM and collaborative information exchange.

Working with organisations on PQQ’s, and indeed supporting the ‘modern construction management’ activities across the organisation necessary to win work in todays industry, we see many contractors unsure as to where to start with Building Information Modelling.

Yet now is the time to address BIM and get ready, at the least in awareness and understanding of how you will respond to and manage BIM requirements.  Increasingly we see BIM related PQQ questions, not only through PAS91 but down through many PQQ documents.

Update 15/4/13:

The National Federation of Builders is optimistic the latest incarnation of PAS 91 will enjoy a wider take-up than much criticised previous versions. Paul Bogle, policy manager at the trade association, said: “The new version will be mandatory for central government and while that is not the case for local authorities we’re optimistic the new version will gain wider acceptance among local authorities too.” Source

But, already others are planning an alternative to PAS91

“Last month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its proposal to create a simpler pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) to boost SME access to contracts could replace PAS 91.. The plan for a new industry standard PQQ, to be drafted with the support of the Construction Industry Council, was one of the key recommendations in RICS’ recently published Construction Policy” Source

PQQ Specification PAS 91 now to include BIM

I have blogged a number of times on PAS 91, the Publicly Available Specification for PQQ’s, (eg here) and on BIM, Building Information Management, (eg here – What is BIM)

But … until now separately …

It is encouraging to note then that Construction Manager published news that the new version of PAS 91 will include BIM, asking bidders on their experience of using Building Information Modelling.

Although PAS91 has maybe not had the take up anticipated, its influence on other PQQ’s is noticeable. Hence the inclusion of BIM into the PAS can only reinforce the importance and the need to act on BIM, from both clients and contractors.

A consultation on the draft version of the updated PAS91 has just concluded. The drafting committee convened by the British Standards Institute, which  authored the original form, will study the comments and issue a final version before Christmas, according to Brian Such, project manager at BSI Standard Solutions.

The draft asks about an organisation’s understanding, capability and willingness in BIM, said Such. “In the last two years interest in building information modelling has grown rapidly – and it felt appropriate and helpful to expand in this direction.”

The government has mandated BIM on all public projects from 2016. (See the Government Construction Strategy)

Proposed new version of PAS 91:

Required

•  Supplier identity, key roles and contact information

•  Financial information

•  Business and professional standing

•  Health and safety policy and capability

Optional

•  Equal opportunity and diversity policy and capability

•  Environmental management policy and capability

•  Quality management policy and capability

•  Building Information Modelling

Notes:
 
I am currently assisting a number of contractors in developing a BIM preparation strategy, based on collaborative working principles and approaches.
 
I recently co-authored a NFB Guide to PAS91:2010 which will be updated following issue of Revision 2
 
If you would like to know more, or receive an outline of a preparation strategy please do get in touch via email or twitter
 
A copy of PAS91:2010 can be downloaded from the BSI site

Improving Bid success through construction #CSR

Is your PQQ or Bid success rate dopping? Are you loosing out to competitors and not sure why? You could do no better than to get along to one of the numerous best practice or knowledge exchange events such as the excellent Green Vision programme from CKE in Leeds.

Last night the focus was on CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, which has moved a million miles away from just doing good, volunteering and charity donation, important though as these are. No, supply chain CSR approaches in the words of Bob Simpson (Walmart/ex ASDA) have to be ‘contemporary’ and demonstrate value to clients.

Bob went on to emphasis how the supply chain has to demonstrate “a point of difference” through CSR, when bidding for work, that includes:

  • Design Problems out (through BIM for example)
  • Improving site efficiency (maximising considerate constructor scores?)
  • Embracing localism
  • Hating waste in all its forms including energy, carbon, transport
  • Exceeding safety standards
  • Taking the initiative. The supply chains are the experts in construction.

Paul Connell E.on consultant reinforced the same message describing how supply chains adding value to E.on to help them deliver their ambitious Cities Programme of collective intelligence, enabling large organisations to engage with individuals on a meaningful level.

Setting the scene, my CSR presentation focused on the changing world of communications and transparency, and the need for construction not only to be solid and reliable but also innovative in CSR. Particularly in the public sector, where the newly minted Social Value Act will require construction to start to really understand and demonstrate the value of CSR approaches.

There is a storify record of the event here.

How contemporay is your CSR approach? Is it helping you demonstrate value to your clients and winning you work? Maybe now is the time to re-evaluate. We are helping many organisations review their CSR, PQQ and Bid approaches.  Do get in touch to discuss.

Social Value Act, CSR and Construction

Could the Social Value Act 2012 which came into being earlier this year have profound implications on construction procurement and on construction’s approach to Corporate Social Responsibility?

Indications are that it will.

The Social Value Act requires local authorities, when entering into public procurement contracts, to give greater consideration to economic, social or environmental wellbeing during the procurement stage.

(3) The authority must consider—

(a) how what is proposed to be procured might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the relevant area, and

(b) how, in conducting the process of procurement, it might act with a view to securing that improvement.

This will require the authority to pre-determine social value expected, along with measures and targets for both the project procurement and delivery. Raising the game on construction understanding of Social Value and CSR.

In response, bids will clearly demonstrate how social value will be created and delivered (as a result of selection to the project). We could (will?) see more weighting and scores afforded to social value issues making ‘soft’ issues ever more competitive.

What are currently seen as innovative differentiators could well become the norm and common place (such as free fruit in site canteens, free whole person health checks for operatives, demonstrating localism through mapping carbons of site travel etc)

Construction can have a huge influence and impact on social value and social wealth, through employment, transport, material purchase, SME procurement, environmental and social impacts … and more. With a little rethinking those impacts, often seen as negative, can deliver real positive value.

Construction, and built environment CSR strategies and performance will need to become ever more important, more strategic and more informed. At one level demonstrating a coherent approach to social value and at another as a competitive differentiator.

Hence now, as ever, is the best time to ensure that CSR approaches are robust, realistic and aligned with staff client and society expectations.

If you are interested in the growing debate on the impact of the Social Value Act and CSR in construction, please join me on twitter @fairsnape, using the #socialvalueact hashtag. You can also comment below and or subscribe to this blog or get in touch to discuss wider CSR and Bidding support.

We have a planned CSR in Construction Tweetchat scheduled for the 18th June where we will be debating, over twitter, the impact of the Social Value Act. (Using hashtag #GVischat)