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Building for Public Good: SCAPE's Charter to Elevate the Built Environment


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We are pleased to announce the publication of our latest policy paper, 'Building for Public Good: A Charter for Change.' This document advocates for decisive action from the central government to capitalise on opportunities and expedite the recovery of the public sector estate.

What does this policy cover?

Our charter underscores the imperative for swift intervention while emphasising the necessity of devolving powers and funding to foster regional growth.

We, as the UK's leading public sector procurement authority, explore how the government can elevate the role of construction to create an efficient, sustainable estate and drive productivity, climate resilience, and economic growth.

Amidst the financial, social, environmental, and economic pressures facing the UK’s public sector, our charter outline a series of recommendations for policy and legislative changes across critical areas including devolution of power and financial responsibilities, public-private partnerships, addressing the construction skills gap, strategic asset management, and achieving net zero.

Key recommendations made in Building for Public Good: A Charter for Change

  • Elevate the construction skills agenda by spearheading a national recruitment campaign.
  • Set a national target and commercial incentives for the reduction of construction and demolition waste.
  • Ensure public sector strategic asset management functions are set up for success and creating an asset management leadership role within local authorities.
  • Encourage public-private secondments that attract and retain talent.
  • Fix profit margins for contractors to create certainty in the market.
  • Reinstate the Chief Construction Advisor (CCA) role within Central Government to provide leadership and accountability.

A recurring theme among our recommendations is the recognition that, in many instances, the public sector possesses a clear understanding of the requirements for success—whether in terms of skills, strategy, or resources—yet lacks the capacity for effective implementation. To address this issue, we recommend that key decision-makers promote a more equitable distribution of power and responsibility between central and local governments, acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all national approach is inadequate for driving sustainable change.

Furthermore, our charter advocates for the incoming government to confront construction and demolition waste by setting stringent targets and offering increased support for circular economy start-ups to foster innovation. Amidst the backdrop of a challenging economic climate, sustainability often takes a backseat; however, through policy reforms and initiatives prioritising green and digital skills, we can cultivate a more conscientious approach to waste creation and management.

These recommendations within our "Building for Public Good: A Charter for Change" policy are grounded in SCAPE's expertise collaborating with local authorities and are crafted to align with the incoming government's objectives of stimulating economic growth and enriching communities.

"As an organisation owned by, and working for, the benefit of the public sector, SCAPE has long advocated for a smarter approach to construction and the built environment. Facilitating the efficient procurement, delivery, and management of the public estate is at the heart of what we do. We know how valuable this is for local authorities in ever more challenging economic circumstances – not least as it frees up time, resources, and funding, allowing them to prioritise other vital services."

Mark Robinson

Group Chief Executive of SCAPE

Mark continues: "However, without adequate clarification, devolution, and funding from central government, the public sector will not be able to harness this potential. Successive policy and funding announcements over recent years have missed opportunities to leverage construction to alleviate some of the pressures felt by the public and private sector alike. It is critical that the incoming government commits to recognising it as a key driver of economic growth, innovation and community enrichment and delivers the reforms to policy and legislation that would raise standards and drive improvement.

“We hope that all parties take note of the recommendations in our Charter for Change, as they consider how they will reinforce the UK’s position as a leading socioeconomic force ahead of the election.”