The success of Scotland’s hub Programme has been recognised in a recent independent evaluation report, confirming that since its establishment ten years ago, it has delivered in excess of £2.2bn investment in around 200 projects in Scotland.
EKOS Ltd, a leading independent economic and social research practice, found that the hub Programme has performed well against its original aims and objectives. It has delivered substantial social impacts and community benefits and there is strong support from across all stakeholder groups.
Particularly noteworthy is the role the Programme has had in encouraging the adoption of community benefit clauses in construction contracts for hub, and subsequently non-hub projects.
The hub Programme is a Scotland-wide partnership model that brings public and private sector bodies together to deliver community infrastructure in five regional areas through their respective hubCos (hub companies) – the South East, North, East Central, West and South West. Infrastructure experts, Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), conceived, developed and manages the Programme with a central programme management office and local programme directors providing oversight and support to the operational hub Programme.
The Programme has created clear and quantifiable impacts for the public and private sector partners who report that working on hub projects has helped to improve their skills and knowledge – particularly for the public sector as a more ‘intelligent client’ and giving the private sector a better understanding of the market requirements for community infrastructure projects. These skills have been transferred into non-hub public sector project activity, further expanding the beneficial impacts delivered by hub on projects delivered to date and in construction.
One of the key benefits that the public sector identified is the high level of certainty that hub projects give, both in cost and timescale for delivery.
There is a further £1.2bn of investment in the pipeline, either at the project development stage or under construction supporting a further 8,500 construction-related jobs a year. The independent assessment of the hub Programme has shown it is well placed to contribute towards Scottish Government’s infrastructure priorities of net zero emissions, resilient and sustainable places and inclusive economic growth across public sector community infrastructure investment.
Speaking at the launch of the report, David MacDonald, National hub Programme director at SFT, said: “The level of construction activity delivered through the hub Programme has exceeded £2bn with public services now being delivered from high-quality buildings underpinned by a strong track-record of quantifiable and qualitative benefits being achieved.”
“To have maintained such solid support after ten years is a major achievement in itself, demonstrating that stakeholders continue to have high confidence in the hub Programme’s future. Reflecting the clear and consistent feedback from stakeholders, the core recommendation of the review is that hub should continue to operate as a national programme, delivering community infrastructure projects through the five hubCos. There is also a desire to see it evolve and take a pro-active role to further advance Scottish Government’s three principal policy objectives of net zero carbon, place and inclusive economic growth.”
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said: “I welcome the findings of this evaluation report and recognise the valuable role that the hub Programme played in delivering much needed new schools, new NHS facilities and other key infrastructure.
“The hub Programme has achieved a great deal in the past ten years through forming effective partnerships between the public and private sectors. I look forward to that collaborative approach continuing, to deliver the community infrastructure we need while supporting jobs, apprenticeships and Scottish SMEs.”
Other positive benefits of the hub Programme that the report has identified include:
- Projects deliver a better end-user experience
- Higher end-user staff satisfaction/ retention
- Better integrated community infrastructure activity and service outcomes
- Improved cost and time certainty achieved for public sector (procurement, delivery and operational)
- Value for money achieved in community infrastructure project activity
- Environmental gain – a better understanding of the need to reduce the carbon footprint
- Productivity gain – an uplift from people with improved skills plus enhanced employability (construction community benefits)
- Public sector gain – a better reputation in market for efficient procurement
- Private sector gain – a better understanding of market requirements and ability to resource accordingly for anticipated demand