PCC praises contractors as new custody development nets £10m+ for local economy.

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January 12, 2023

Contractors working on the creation of the new Durham Investigative Hub are celebrating a major new milestone after boosting the social and economic value of the project beyond £10m.

The Durham Gate development, which will provide more than 6,600m2 of up-to-date accommodation including 48 modern cells, has been intentionally designed to improve local opportunities, life chances and wellbeing for local people.

County Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen set an ambitious goal to generate £6m in social value through the scheme by securing local contracts, creating new jobs and increasing opportunities for people to obtain and develop new skills.

Long before the project’s completion date, the development has surpassed its original aims with more than £10m now spent with local businesses in the force area including MGL Group based in Durham, Aspect Facades in Newton Aycliffe and SCH Site Services in Newton Aycliffe. Furthermore, over £18m of the overall contract was spent in the North East.

On top of this, the project has generated new employment and work experience placements while the team has volunteered more than 150 hours with local charities including housing charity DASH and St Cuthbert’s Hospice.  

The PCC, who is the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners’ (APCC) Joint Lead for Environment and Sustainability, took the decision to include social value principles in procurement tenders shortly after her appointment to encourage successful bidders to award goods and service contracts to organisations based in County Durham and Darlington and the North East region.

This saw leading UK building, infrastructure, engineering and fitout company Tilbury Douglas Construction appointed as principal construction contractor on the two-storey project.

She said: “I am proud of the outstanding work that has been taking place to draw out the full potential of this development and leave a positive legacy across our communities.

“When we embarked on this project, I had every faith we would honour our pledge to make a difference. What I wasn’t expecting was how quickly we would exceed our own expectations and build on our commitments with further support for our workforce and communities.

“This is an example of partnership working at its best and shows what can be achieved when public organisations work in tandem with the community and businesses to make their limited resources go even further.”

Paul Ellenor, Regional Director at Tilbury Douglas Construction, said: “Social value is so important to all of us at Tilbury Douglas and it’s great to see the benefits being returned to the local community from the construction of the new Durham Investigative Hub.

“The whole project team has worked hard to deliver the maximum benefit, and have already exceeded many of our initial targets.  We continue to work with our local supply chain, charities, and education providers to create opportunities in the Durham area and I’m confident of the lasting legacy this project will bring, and proud of my team’s achievements.”

Commissioner Allen visits MGL Group in Durham as part of discussions around the construction of the Investigative Hub.

As part of its own social value commitments, contractor MGL Group has allocated a trainee quantity surveyor for the lifespan of the development and recently assigned one of its General Construction Operative (GCO) apprentices to the project.

The firm has also attended career events, mock interviews and supported local charity events and campaigns as part of its involvement.

Simon Martin, Business Development Director at MGL Group, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Police and Crime Commissioner and supporting the wider team to reach this important social value milestone.  

“We pride ourselves on being a responsible and sustainable business and are very passionate about contributing our experience and resources for the wider good of the community. We are grateful for the opportunity to work creatively and innovatively to maximise opportunities for our own workforce and those looking to take their first steps onto the career ladder as well as supporting local charitable work to create outcomes that are relevant and beneficial.”

Commissioner Allen visits SCH Site Services in Newton Aycliffe to hear about their contribution to the project.

Andy Braid, Operations Director for specialist steel contractors SCH Site Services, said the project was helping to keep highly-skilled workers in the North East area.

“All of our site teams are North East based and from the local area,” he said.

“We have a full complement in the factory and on site and everyone has at some stage been involved on this job.

“We spend a lot of time trying to keep our workers as close to home as possible. We like to target jobs in the North East and we always have done. This project is close to our hearts with it being in Spenny and so for us, we very much wanted to be a part of it.

“It’s important to us as a business that we think about our carbon footprint and are not sending our people in vans and on trains down to London and on the flipside, we don’t want people from London driving up here to do work. We want all our workers to go home to their families at night.”

Liam Murray, Estimating/Sales Director at Aspect Facades, added: “Aspect are extremely proud to be working with Tilbury Douglas on this prestigious project which is contributing so much to our area and has provided employment opportunities within our business.  

“We currently have three apprentices who have had direct involvement with this project which has aided both theirs and Aspect’s development as a result.  To exceed the original social value target of £10M is a credit to Tilbury Douglas and all involved.  

“As a relatively new growing company with a high percentage of young enthusiastic members of staff, we put great value in supporting local businesses through our own supply chain, engagement of local members of staff and local charities alike which made the Celebration get together on site all the more uplifting.  We aim to continue this trend via strong and loyal relationships with all of our stakeholders.”

Once completed next spring, the hub will provide a range of office space, interview rooms, Crime Scene Investigation provision, evidence stores, virtual courts, CCTV, an energy centre, medical facilities and forensic examination rooms in addition to 48 modern cells.

Michelle March, Head of Estates for Durham Constabulary, said ‘The construction contract has been procured through the Procure Partnerships Framework to include a number of Social Value targets in line with the PCC’s vision of engaging with the local community, employing local labour, investing in public service and delivering community value. Tilbury Douglas have been working closely with the PCC’s office to maximise Social Value aspects throughout all stages of the contract and continue to create local opportunities and benefits for County Durham and Darlington.’

The development has seen Durham Constabulary become the first in the country to utilise the Governments’ Construction Value Toolkit. The toolkit was designed to help current and future suppliers of police forces across the country develop their own social value action plans. The tool helps suppliers understand what social value means, identify their existing social value activity, and explore potential new activities.

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