We get a lot of enquiries about community benefits: What are they? What type of benefits are available? How do I apply?
In this short guide, we’ll discuss what community benefits are and what they can achieve. Then, we’ll offer guidance on what kinds of projects are supported in Perth and Kinross and how to apply, with a list of available routes for community benefits in Perth and Kinross.
What are community benefits?
Community benefits are an aspect of public procurement (the purchase of goods, services and works by local and national government).
Public procurement comes with a legal responsibility to support and deliver benefits to local communities. In Scotland, this goal is achieved through community benefit requirements.
Community benefits are local initiatives that support the social, environmental or economic wellbeing of an area within the remit of a public contract.
Community benefit requirements must be considered for contracts over £4 million and are requested in most large contracts let by the public sector, including the NHS and local councils .
What benefits can be delivered for the third sector?
The community benefits suppliers can deliver are wide and varied, but all will focus on improving the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of communities. Here are some examples:
– Provision of work experience opportunities or apprenticeships for disadvantaged groups
– Support for social enterprise development
– Lifelong learning, training, and skills development for community members
– Supplying IT support or software
Economic wellbeing benefits can also include more generally the training and employment opportunities provided by the contract and the availability of sub-contracting opportunities.
– Resources to support the work of organisations and volunteers (e.g., materials, equipment, supplies, volunteering hours)
– Access to arts or leisure opportunities
– Support for projects that promote good physical, social, and mental health (e.g., play and outdoor gym equipment, green spaces, sensory gardens)
– Refurbishment of old buildings
– Removal of graffiti from buildings
– Improved access to premises and open spaces
– Projects that enhance resilience to flooding and climate change
How can I make a request for community benefits?
Suppliers who commit to delivering community benefits do not always have a fixed idea of what these benefits will be at the time contracts are awarded. Various platforms exist to close this gap in understanding and connect organisations to suppliers.
In Perth and Kinross, both the Council and NHS Tayside operate an online platform to encourage third sector organisations to identify ‘needs’ or ‘wishes’ that could be met through the delivery of community benefits.
Advice for making a community benefits request
- Before looking at the platforms, it is important to remember that community benefits are designed to be in-kind, most often linked to the type of goods or services that are provided by the supplier.
- When thinking of your ‘needs’ or ‘wishes’, it is best to try and envisage which suppliers might be in a position to provide the service you are asking for.
- Community benefits offers by suppliers are rarely in the form of cash – organisations should always try to avoid making direct requests for funding or financial asks. Also, when describing the support you require, try to keep it simple and be clear about what you are asking for.
- If possible, provide examples of the equipment needed, the number of volunteers you need and for how long, the scale of any building or ground works needed, and so on.
- Remember, if you are asking for help to work on premises or land you need to obtain the owner’s permission first.
Community Benefits in Perth and Kinross
Perth & Kinross Council Community Benefits
Perth & Kinross Council have a sustainable procurement policy and are committed to embedding social, economic and environmental benefits into all of the contracts that they enter into with suppliers. You can read more about their policy and their approach to community benefits here.
If your organisation wants to publicise a ‘need’ or a ‘wish’, you can submit your request to the PKC Wish List using this online form.
Requests will then be added to the Wish List, which is considered by suppliers as they make bids.
NHS Community Benefits Gateway
The NHS platform is open to charities and social enterprises that are registered as a charity or with Companies House (please note, unincorporated community groups cannot apply at present).
Follow this link to register with the NHS Community Benefits Gateway and upload your request.
Full guidance on the application process, including what to expect when an offer is made, can be found here.
Tayside Contracts Community Fund
Tayside Contracts and their supplier partner, Brakes Scotland, operate a system of inviting proposals from charities and constituted community groups for works with a value of up to £3,000.
Works might include improvements or repairs to paths or car parks, ground works for projects, providing catering for community events, or signage and traffic management for events.
Full details on how to apply can be found here.
BAM Nuttall is the main contractor for the new Cross Tay Link Road, which is due to be completed by Spring 2025.
They are happy to hear from community groups, individuals and organisations who have ideas and projects focused on enhancing the lives of the people in the communities around the Link Road and bringing social wellbeing benefits to the local area.
Projects can be small, such as path clearing, or large and community-wide.
Quarterly meetings are held in Scone and Luncarty for organisations who wish to get involved. Further information can be found here.
This learning resource has been adapted from: