17.06.2021

Blog: Benefits of using NWCH – by Brian Durham

Cumbria County Council are a regular user of North West Construction Hub (NWCH) Frameworks and Brian Durham, Programme Manager at Cumbria County Council and NWCH Board member recently spoke with us about why they regularly use the Hub and the benefits of doing so…

Cumbria Council have used North West Construction Hub and their Frameworks on many occasions and we tend to use them for higher value projects that are over £5m.

There are many advantages to using the Hub but the biggest advantage we have found over the years is the continuous peer learning. The opportunities to share with other local authorities is a fantastic benefit that has allowed us as a council to learn and grow over the years.

I was at the very first meeting when the Framework was expanded out towards the whole of the North West and the benefits massively outweigh what we could do individually. Like-minded people have created the Framework and as a smaller council, we added and bought into what the other combined local authorities could give us. Learning and teaching along the way.

The Special Interest Groups (SIGs) we have found to be very useful. These are specialist meetings taking place every few months with each group covering a specific overarching topic (digital and innovation, sustainability, social value, and commercial) and each topic covering multiple sub-topics such as modern slavery in the sustainability SIG for example.

The ability to tap into this shared knowledge and learning and go on the same journey together has proven to be efficient, effective and valuable. The alternate of doing it as a solo local authority isn’t as effective and we wouldn’t be able to do it in our own right if it wasn’t for the North West Construction Hub.

Whilst we do look at the major issues within our business, with the North West Construction Hub we can go more in depth and improve our learning and practices.

There are many Frameworks out there, though many tend to be standing procurement lists without the added value that the Hub provides. This value include the fact that it is a very mature Framework having been active for over a decade. The Hub has a great track record of being flexible, delivering projects and being great value for money as well as being a great, well balanced framework and it is no surprise it has remained a market leader over the years.

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