Project Overview

This case study is featured in UKGBC’s report, A Guide for Delivering Social Value on Built Environment Projects.

The town of Clun frequently experiences flooding incidents which adversely impact the local community. In response, Shropshire Council have been allocated funds from the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop a flood alleviation scheme in Clun in collaboration with WSP and Kier. A comprehensive data collection and initial project scoping phase has already taken place, with a technical note on the scheme delivered in July 2021. WSP recognise that delivering social value would significantly benefit the Clun community and are keen to go beyond the technical expertise of designing drainage infrastructure to build a legacy for years to come, acting as a catalyst for long-term change. They would like to implement a ‘soft’ engineering approach given the local areas focus on conservation. WSP are keen to focus on reinstatement of existing historical ponds, using natural flood management and techniques to ‘slow the flow’, as opposed to building new infrastructure. This could include using existing systems such as ponds and wetlands, as well as reintroducing improved water concentrations and quality to support the presence of freshwater pearl mussels. Through reinstating and improving historical river elements to help flood management, the team also hope to improve the natural beauty of the area, provide a tourism hub, footpaths for recreation and the use of modern engineering techniques – all which could be shared with the local community.

What makes the project interesting? 

  • The project stands out due to the strong working relationship and partnership between WSP, Kier and Shropshire Council.
  • The project has included social value considerations from the initial bid stage.
  • Shropshire Council already have a range of locally run initiatives in place that the project team will be able to build upon.
  • The ongoing relationship between WSP and Shropshire Council will ensure that the social value initiatives are continued through the operational phase of the scheme with strong existing community ties and stakeholder engagement assisting with ongoing monitoring and reporting of social value outcomes.

Future considerations: 

  • Review key deliverables with Shropshire Council and assign these to social value champions who can implement and track progress.
  • Use the social value ideas tracker to map out relevant contacts for each initiative.
  • Develop a long-term plan with the Strategic Clun Liaison group to work alongside the community, the Council, landowners, and other stakeholders to report on progress and track opportunities.
  • Carry out another public consultation exercise during Spring 2022 to further communicate, evaluate and test their Social Value Delivery Plan.

Approaches Used

Agree social value purpose

  • Social value considerations were included from the initial project bid stage.

Identify priority stakeholder

  • Priority stakeholders were identified in collaboration with the Council during the early stages of the project

Put in place a social value measurement framework

  • WSP recommends the National TOMs framework to all their project teams (unless another framework is deemed more suitable). As a result, the TOMs framework has been selected for this project. The measurement approach has been approved by Shropshire Council.

Understand stakeholder needs

  • WSP held a ‘think tank’ workshop with multiple stakeholders including Shropshire Council and the Town Council. This session was used to brainstorm ideas for potential social value initiatives to meet the needs identified and develop the social value tracker.
  • WSP have engaged with local stakeholder groups, charities, and schools to understand local needs and to gather ideas for potential social value initiatives.

Ongoing measurement, monitoring and reporting

  • They have also identified local groups and individuals who are keen to help with the upkeep and monitoring of the final scheme.

Key Sustainability Objectives/ Outcomes

WSP are currently in the process of defining the projects priority social value outcomes. A social value tracker has been set up to record ideas and stakeholder engagement has begun with local groups.

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