Colas is a company with a wide impact. As an expert in transport infrastructure, its work – whether planning, engineering, constructing or more – has a significant impact on local businesses and communities. Wales is a key strategic market for Colas, particularly in relation to major civil engineering schemes.
In 2020, Colas in Wales instigated a five-year social value strategy that focused on three business-wide priorities, supporting:
- Disadvantaged people in the community
- Young people
- The social economic recovery from COVID-19
Part of this strategy included signing up for the Social Value Portal, with excellent results.
Before we started using Social Value Portal, we had much less structure. We had always done what needs to be done – Colas has always had a strong social value ethic and because of the way we work, a lot of local spend happens naturally. But there was very little record keeping, just a lot of good work and good will.
- Rachael Atkin, Social Value Manager at Colas.
The National TOMs
Once the Colas team had selected the National TOMs as the best social value reporting tool, work began to select the right measures for the organisation. We then worked closely with Colas to provide support on areas including pricing, business case development and implementation.
The TOMs selected by Colas are structured around the seven goals of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015. Such as ‘a globally responsible Wales’, ‘a healthier Wales’ and ‘a more equal Wales’. The framework provides a set of measures for each goal to engage with different aspects of social value.
Rachael highlighted how using the portal was a useful was to capture data across the business. As well as using the Portal, Colas creates case studies to tell stakeholders about the social value it is creating. Together, these have made a real difference.
Across the board, quantifying the social value we create has improved. It’s not only our customers who can now see what we’re doing, but our staff. We can see a difference in the way they are working now they see clearly they are doing good in the community.
Looking ahead for Colas in Wales
Colas is now one year into its five-year social value strategy. It has already achieved 70% of its goals. Using the data from the Portal, the team is now looking to create a way to compare performance against goals. As well as set goals for future years.
Feedback from customers on how Colas presents and quantifies the social value it creates continues to make the endeavour highly worthwhile.
Social Value Portal’s support, and the newly-released National TOMs for Wales, were invaluable for the development of our offer. The mapping of the various measures against the 7 WGBFA 2015 goals helped provide confidence that our commitments accurately reflected the needs and objectives of the procuring authority.
- Duncan Smith, UK Projects, Colas