Value For Money And Social Impact
Appearing at the Finance Committee (see UTV report here) on Wednesday to provide a robust rebuttal of party-politicking over the NAMA communications controversy was also an opportunity for members to fall back on allusions to TV soaps. Peyton Place and LA Law were just some of the TV shows which got an outing but there was, as I observed, no Columbo moment. The full committee hearing can be seen here but it’s an hour in before my appearance starts.
On Friday, I was honoured to chair the first meeting of a refreshed and reenergised Procurement Board.
With spend of over £2bn per year, the Procurement Board is the cutting edge of government delivery.
And when it come to delivery, this Executive is united in common purpose.
Until now, the 13-member board was all-male and had insufficient input from those in business and community who have been arguing for a procurement approach which combines best value with social good.
As a government, we want to deliver transformative infrastructure projects which will ensure cranes return to our skyline and provide sustainable jobs across the community. Infrastructure which will attract investment and position us as a progressive 21st Century society.
New infrastructure projects coming before the Board will all bear testament to the progress we have made towards a prosperous and shared society. Our ambition is huge: roads, colleges, transport, universities, museums, art galleries, libraries, hospitals, bridges, office accommodation, homes and sports grounds are all among the projects earmarked for investment.
I want this delivery board to do things differently in the time ahead. I want to deliver projects with alacrity and in consort with the community and business sectors.
I want to place a special emphasis on using government contracts to provide work to the long-term unemployed while prioritising innovative programmes which encourage entrepreneurship.
And I want to ensure we put the focus back on architectural excellence of a truly international standard and put great art at the centre of everything we do.
Helping me to deliver the change needed is a group of External Advisors to the Procurement Board who will enliven and challenge our traditional approaches. All have unsurpassed expertise in their field and will be champions for delivery which positively impacts on society.
They include four women — entrepreneur Emer Hinphey, activist academic Ruth Fee, third sector champion Lisa McElherron and construction sector ambassador Rhona Quinn — and artist-architect Colin Maxwell who will be focusing on raising our architectural game.
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