Local authorities are at the forefront of regeneration and place-making, delivering projects which support a thriving local economy or address other priority needs of the locality

Published 14 August 2023

Last updated 12 September 2023

Local authorities are at the forefront of regeneration and placemaking, delivering projects which support a thriving local economy or address other priority needs of the locality such as skills development and decarbonisation. Such activity is often complex, consisting of multiple, diverse projects that may be interrelated or overlapping, and require substantial investment. 

The challenges

Access to resources, procurement expertise, and commercial routes to market is critical to any regeneration scheme’s success but local authorities may lack the necessary experience or capability in these areas. 

In this article, we explore how effective regeneration procurement can support the complex needs, goals, and priorities facing local communities and provide our top tips for where local authorities can begin with their regeneration project to help guide your team to the best possible outcome.

What are regeneration and placemaking, and why are they important for local authorities?

Local regeneration projects can help to promote economic growth and improve the quality of life for citizens. For many projects, central themes are stimulating local economic activity and improving the built environment. 

Programmes to revitalise town centres and former industrial buildings can help attract investment for commercial landmarks while introducing valuable quality-of-life improvements for residents. For example, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council are using our solutions to reinvent and reinvigorate the Nuneaton town centre completely. Their regeneration programme features the Grayson Place project, an exciting new family-friendly meeting, eating, drinking, and entertainment destination currently under construction. 

According to a report by the UK government, adopting a placemaking approach to regeneration can generate value for residents and the local community through improved neighbourhood pride, a locally informed housing offer, better connections to local opportunities, and improved services.

Placemaking is the collaborative process of designing and shaping public spaces to create vibrant, inclusive, and attractive environments. Placemaking focuses on creating places that people feel connected to, that promote social interaction, well-being, and a sense of belonging within a community.  

Take a phased approach to regeneration procurement

If you need help determining where to begin with your regeneration procurement, start by breaking down the end-to-end journey into phases, such as project development, public engagement, and project delivery. 

Here’s what these 3 phases could look like:

Phase 1 – Strategic planning and project development

Regeneration procurement starts with strategic planning and project development – where you set project objectives, scope, and timelines. Here, you should identify the community’s specific needs, establish regeneration goals, and determine the required resources. For example, putting social value at the core of regeneration and placemaking projects will help deliver great places that serve the people who live in them. 

Many local authorities don’t have dedicated resources or inhouse knowledge experts to manage regeneration projects. You can access professional service for a wide range of technical advisory services and expert support for regeneration and infrastructure projects of all scales and sizes.

Phase 2 – Public engagement

Effective regeneration procurement involves engaging and collaborating with various stakeholders, other local authorities, developers, community organisations, and residents. 

Some practical approaches to community engagement for regeneration projects include:

  • implementing a Social Value and Community Engagement Plan that provides activities and services for the local community
  • partnering with local leaders, the private sector and community groups to deliver new housing, facilities, roads and infrastructure
  • supporting community-led plans that oppose social housing demolition and propose alternative schemes

Engagement should also be inclusive and enable all voices to be heard.Investing in participation support for under-represented groups, for example, can help build stronger relationships with and across different communities. Regular communication and consultation ensures that the procurement process considers diverse perspectives and aligns with the needs and aspirations of the community. 

Phase 3 – Project delivery

Regeneration and placemaking schemes often encompass integrated themes, such as: 

  • digital and smart technology
  • electric vehicle charging
  • town centre revitalisation
  • pedestrian and vehicular traffic management

As you prepare your regeneration business case and look at the project’s delivery phase, it’s essential to understand what routes to market are available for your procurement and how to factor in sustainability and social value when aligning projects with local priorities. To determine what agreements to use, start with a base set of criteria and then align its specifications for a project with the agreement’s scope. 

Factors to consider include: 

  • the lotting structure if your regeneration project specification falls within the scope of the agreement
  • the number and type of the appointed suppliers 
  • is it a direct award or does it allow for direct further competition processes
  • what opportunities are there to deliver Social Value

Once contracts are awarded, monitoring and evaluating the performance of suppliers and contractors is critical. Performance monitoring ensures compliance with contractual obligations, quality standards, timelines, and budgets. It also helps identify any issues or challenges early on and allows for appropriate remedial actions.

Embed social value and sustainability into procurement early

Consider social value and sustainability in the earliest stages of development. How do the goods or services you’re going to buy and how you’re going to buy them help secure social value and sustainability benefits? The decisions you make when your requirement is still in the pre-procurement / development phase will be integral to the final contract and the type of suppliers that will perform it. 

CCS offers tools and guidance on measuring and reporting social value, helping local authorities to track their progress and demonstrate their achievements. You can also encourage suppliers to develop sustainable supply chains and show how they deliver social value. 

Regeneration activity must also be mindful of the requirement for our local places to support the transition to carbon net zero. Embracing sustainable principles, such as green infrastructure, energy efficiency, waste management, and sustainable transportation options, helps to create environmentally friendly and resilient places that help mitigate climate change and enhance the overall quality of life. 

Achieving sustainability goals through regeneration projects can include procuring everything from the decarbonisation of property to the use of smart technology to develop clean air and low emissions zones. 

Find out more

Meeting the complex needs, goals, and priorities facing local communities requires an approach as advanced as the problems you are trying to solve. Following these principles helps maximise the positive social impact of regeneration projects. 

To learn more, visit our Regeneration and Placemaking webpage. You can find more resources about our work to support local authorities on our website, or visit our social value webpage to learn more about how we can support your organisations social value goals. To speak to a member of our expert team, please call us on 0345 410 2222.

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