LocatED case study on influencing supply chains

Member Focus / 15 September 2021

Our work at LocatED is all about helping to shape the country’s future. Founded in 2017 as an arms-length body to the Department for Education (DfE), LocatED acquires and manages sites and buildings for new schools and is committed to improving the efficiency of the education estate. In setting about this work, LocatED is devoted to ensuring not just that the schools built are optimally positioned to serve children, families, and communities, but that the work which goes into them and into supporting our company’s structure is also undertaken with an eye toward its impact.

As part of this, at any time, LocatED manages a property portfolio of some 80 to 90 DfE properties across England comprising the best part of 500 acres. These portfolio properties need to be secured, maintained and managed. Following a public procurement through Crown Commercial Services (CCS), VINCI Facilities, a subsidiary of VINCI Construction UK Ltd, has been retained to provide facility management services across the managed portfolio and act under LocatEDs’ supervision.

As part of government framework requirements, VINCI is required to support procurement from small and medium enterprise (SME) suppliers. SME’s currently comprise some  90 to 95% of VINCI FM’s suppliers. Further, VINCI’s pre-qualification pre-contract processes also considers supplier’s environmental and social value performance. This model helps to ensure that LocatED’s work to support the DfE contributes to a supply chain that is not just focussed on the needs of the moment, but on what those moments mean for tomorrow and thereafter.

Through creative and entrepreneurial initiatives, LocatED has been able to deliver significant savings and value add across DfE’s managed estate, currently some £12.6 million  ​benefit to the public purse. Examples include income being generated and costs being mitigated through short-term flexible lettings, monetising parking and making properties available for commercial film shoots.

In many instances, bringing vacant properties back into service through such ‘meanwhile’ uses has also had a positive impact on the community.  Some vacant properties have been used to provide short term, flexible or incubator style ‘pop up offices’ which support the SME sector. Other vacant properties have been used for ‘guardian’ type schemes with  vacant properties used to provide lower cost accommodation options for key workers and young professionals in urban areas, while keeping these buildings secure . Other community uses have included local sports clubs and local authorities, such as business engagement events.

But the benefits of LocatED’s management of the DfE asset portfolio have perhaps never been clearer than during the course of the pandemic. Over the course of the COVID-19 crisis, LocatED has facilitated the use of six DfE properties to date being made available for use by the NHS as part of governments Covid response. These have included testing centres, vaccination centres, and vaccination training facilities for NHS nurses. In a time where so many felt helpless, LocatED was proud to be able to enable these facilities to be made available to help the country build back better.

Here at LocatED we like to say that “Everyday is a School Day.” It’s a reminder not only of what we do, but of the boundless opportunities our work offers us to learn and to grow—and to help others, whether students, entrepreneurs, health care workers, or the whole nation, find a place to do the same.