Social Value Awards 2022 - Double Award

Framework nets double social value award wins for its diverse micro-SME focus

Public sector framework provider LHC London and South East and Southwark Council received the GO Awards UK National Social Value Award for Local Authorities last week (25 May) – the organisations’ second accolade this month.

The organisations were selected because of their work to create more opportunities for diverse architect firms via the Architects Design Services (ADS1.1) framework. A large focus was to attract black-led practices at the micro-SME level, which traditionally miss out on public sector work.

The accolade swiftly follows their ‘Social Innovation’ win at the Social Value Awards 2022 earlier this month.

ADS 1.1 was developed in response to criticism of the original ADS1 framework when it launched in June 2020, with complaints that the appointed practices did not accurately represent Southwark’s demographics.

LHC London and South East and Southwark Council worked with the community and local architects to see how they could address this. Following significant engagement and research, the decision was made to expand the framework and create ADS1.1.

As part of the scoring, all firms had to explain how they addressed equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the profession through their work. The ambition was to bring more micro-SMEs and BAME-led practices onto the framework and increase their opportunities to design housing and regeneration schemes in the Borough.

Shona Snow, Head of Procurement at LHC London and South East said:

“Thanks to the valuable insights from the practices appointed to the original framework and the hard work undertaken with our partners, we have been able to help increase the opportunities available to a greater pool of talented architects.

“We want to support an industry that makes meaningful change and delivers better design outcomes that represent and serve the needs of our diverse communities. We believe this a significant step forward for frameworks to achieve this. The learning and resulting changes we’ve made will continue to influence our future frameworks, and we hope it will inspire others in the industry and help them to tackle these issues head-on.”

To support the expansion of ADS the Council launched new initiative Southwark Stands Together (SST), which saw it hold engagement events in summer 2020 to inform the change delivered through ADS1.1.

Cllr Helen Dennis, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency & Sustainable Development, said:

“We are delighted to be among the top councils in the diversity category for this year's awards amid a record number of entries from a record number of organisations. The people designing our new council homes and public spaces must reflect the people who make up our community. Our first framework fell short, but we were determined to do better. We are really proud of our work with LHC which has increased the number of Black and Asian-led practices promoted by our architects' framework.

“Our success shows what is possible when we place equality at the heart of everything we do. This is the principle that guides us as a council as we tackle structural racism through Southwark Stands Together. We know we still have a way to go, but positive change has a powerful ripple effect. Aspiring architects from our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities can look to the practices helping make Southwark a fairer place to live and see that great careers in architecture can provide for them too."

LHC and Southwark Council’s overhaul of the tendering process captured the attention of award judges with its targeted objectives and new evaluation criteria. This explicitly referenced local hard-to-reach communities and under-represented groups and included a major focus on practices EDI credentials and initiatives.

Assessment looked at what architecture practices have done to get BAME and disadvantaged young people into the profession, with a focus on real results, while measuring how designs were delivered through case studies.  

As part of the process, the organisations also reached out to minority support networks including Paradigm Network, Black Females in Architecture, and Impact Brixton, plus 61 others.

Annette Fisher, Co-Founder at Unionne, an ADS1.1 appointed diverse and female-led architect consortium said: “Unionne understand the huge significance of our appointment as role models; you can’t be what you can’t see, and reverberations of this will be beyond anything we could ever have imagined.

“We now have the platform to be appointed by any public funded organisation in Southwark and beyond. The places we have been awarded demonstrates LHC’s important contribution to Southwark’s commitment to developing and supporting diversity and inclusion through partnerships that will deliver participation of all in shaping our built environment.” 

To find out more information about ADS1.1 and LHC’s other frameworks, visit here

For more information about Southwark Council, visit here.

For more information about Unionne, visit here.

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