During the next ten years Havering Council is planning to build around 3,500 new homes for local people at affordable rents, low-cost home ownership and private sale, in one of the most ambitious local authority home building programmes in the country. Key to achieving that aim will be the regeneration of twelve council housing sites in the borough as the land being used to deliver the new homes is owned by Havering and will remain in council ownership.
I am very keen that local businesses and construction workers are closely involved in delivering regeneration across the borough, and I have already spoken to the STC Group and Havering College about providing apprentices and jobseekers to fulfil the new construction jobs that will be created.
I have also met a local construction firm at my surgery, and put his suggestions to the council on how to get more Havering businesses tendering for the contracts available.
The council provided the following reply:
The request is exactly how we intend to maximise the social and economic benefits of the regeneration schemes. We have already held a session at CEME with local businesses highlighting similar opportunities and we will be accelerating the communication with local businesses as and when the actual build becomes closer.
Since 2015 the Council has utilised funds from the Mayor of London’s office to commission East London Business Place (ELBP) and Havering College of FE & HE to provide a 3-pronged approach of supporting the construction sector:
- Construction business growth fast track programme – helping businesses to achieve growth through securing contracts and improving their services.
- Havering Construction Network – providing businesses with an opportunity to gain appropriate knowledge to become tender ready.
- Havering Constructive Futures – commissioning construction training with a guaranteed job interviews with a rail construction employer.
- Supply Chain Initiative - providing businesses with an opportunity to join supply chains in Canary Wharf and neighbouring London boroughs.
The funding from the Mayor of London has now come to an end, so we are working with ELBP, Newable (another support provider) and Havering College of FE & HE to agree a new approach to supporting our local construction businesses by utilising alternative funding sources.
In response to the specific questions you put to us:
- Perhaps in joint venture programmes the Council could place requirements for partners to use a percentage of local firms in subcontracts/workforce
Our four Joint Venture Business Plans include a requirement to ensure local construction businesses can access these tender opportunities. As well as supporting local businesses to be tender ready, and have access to these tenders, the Joint Ventures will also support local employment opportunities and utilise expectations within the Local Plan and Section 106 agreements.
- The Council could organise Trade Fairs for local companies to showcase themselves to JV partners/developers
We have been advised that Trade Fairs do not always enable local businesses to access tenders, however we would be open to offering a Trade Fair if this becomes an appropriate mechanism of engagement. Instead, we are working Newable and ELBP to organise small scale Meet the Buyer events that ensure local businesses can access the right JV partner/contractor, at the right time, to discuss the tender expectations prior to submission deadlines.
- The Council could perhaps have a register of approved local businesses to be shared with developers.
We will be organising a database for all local construction businesses to register their details, and this information will be shared with developers. We will also use this database to promote Meet the Buyer events, and monitor the number of local businesses submitting tenders and those who are successful.