Ark Schools achieved social value by using our commercial agreement to procure its cleaning contract

Published 11 May 2022

Last updated 11 May 2022

Updated: September 2023

Ark is an education charity based in the UK, working to improve educational achievement in areas of disadvantage. Ark also develops ventures that benefit teachers, pupils and the education system as a whole. Their work extends beyond the classroom to help transform lives by collaborating with their suppliers to deliver world-class services in a way that positively impacts the wider community.

Social value

Ark were looking to award a contract to provide cleaning services at 5 of their schools in London and the South of England. Ark sought a supplier who would align with their values and collaborate to achieve social value.

Social value is the positive impact on a community and considers economic, social and environmental aspects. Ark and the successful supplier, Churchill, were able to work together to deliver a range of measures to achieve social value. This was made possible through Ark’s procurement using CCS’s Building Cleaning Services commercial agreement.

Example 1: Real living wage

We all know money isn’t everything, but a little extra can go a long way. The national living wage was £8.91 per hour for 2021/22. In 2022, the real living wage was £9.90 across the UK and £11.05 in London. It reflects the true cost of living.

For employees, it means greater financial security, reduced stress of affording bills and being able to spend more time with family. For employers, it means increased motivation and productivity of staff, improved relations between managers and staff, and increased staff retention.

Ark Schools made the real living wage mandatory in their requirements specification, securing social value for the cleaners staffing the school and their families. It also means more money is spent in the community, boosting the local economy.

Ark’s Head of Procurement, Paul Carlisle, said:

The pandemic highlighted cleaners’ vital role in keeping our schools safe. While moving to the real living wage meant some schools had to find additional funds for their cleaning, they were happy to support their cleaning staff in this way and ensure that they were properly recognised for their essential work.

Specifying the real living wage also meant that we did not need to worry about the procurement becoming a ‘race to the bottom’, with bidders competing on how poorly they could pay their staff. We focused our evaluation on the efficiency and added value the different bidders could bring and encouraged them to bring forward new initiatives in areas such as staff wellbeing and environmental sustainability.

Example 2: Environmental sustainability

Churchill implemented the use of water-soluble sachets in biodegradable packaging and reusable containers for their cleaning detergents. This offers several environmental and safety benefits:

  • reduced single-use plastic waste
  • reduced transport emissions by adding water only at the point of use, not transporting
    water in pre-diluted chemical solutions
  • reduced risk of injury due to using lightweight products
  • reduced risk of chemical spillages or leaks from stored containers

Daniela Eigner, Environmental Sustainability Manager at Churchill said:

Reducing single-use plastics has become a key part of our sustainability journey and has been led by Churchill’s shift to water-soluble sachets. This has saved over 24 metric tonnes of plastic waste across the business over the course of 12 months, the equivalent weight of 4 full-grown elephants.

Example 3: Wellbeing

The wellbeing and resilience of individuals, communities and society in general, is a big part of social value. Ark Schools partnered with a supplier who cares about its customers and employees.

Tonka Valkinova, Account Director at Churchill Group, said:

We have implemented our Modus platform which not only digitalises the quality audits to monitor the standards at each site, but it is also a great platform for our staff. Modus gives our operatives free access to the House of Wellbeing, including over 80 audios that offer impactful techniques for overcoming any unwanted beliefs, behaviours and negative thought patterns. The platform gives our staff access to professional audios to help succeed in their career, as well as audios focused on coping with isolation.

The procurement solution

Our Building Cleaning Services DPS offered a flexible solution for Ark Schools to meet their cleaning and social value needs. It provided access to pre-agreed contract terms and a pre-vetted list of contract cleaning companies. This enabled the school to procure their cleaning contract efficiently and compliantly, matching their requirements with the best possible supplier. Additionally, they could maximise the social value that the contract provided to the local area.

Let us bring power to your procurement

Our Facilities Management and Workplace Services agreement and DPS have replaced the (now expired) Building Cleaning Services agreement. This new agreement offers you a flexible way to source cleaning services that suit your organisation’s needs, including meeting your social value goals. To find out more: