In Wales, we can and will make a difference when it comes to the climate change agenda

Neil Barker, Director of the Welsh Procurement Alliance attended our first Low Carbon Conference last month and was inspired by the positive noises coming from the sector.

Profile of Neil Barker

 

At a politically challenging time it is refreshing to find that in Wales we have some genuine political will to make some positive changes.

On the 18th July, I spent the day at the CHC Low Carbon Conference in Cardiff where there was a definite feeling that we were all in this together and that together we could, and would, make a difference. It was also interesting to get a Dutch perspective from Dolf Neilen’s session about the social housing sector in Holland.

This followed on from my attending the presentation earlier in the day, by Chris Jofeh, of the Welsh Government commissioned report, Better Homes, Better Wales, Better World, on the decarbonisation of homes in Wales. The independent advisory group, chaired by Chris, is recommending that Welsh Government should commit to a 30-year programme to reduce carbon emissions from housing.

To be looking ahead with such a positive and collaborative approach to real world issues like climate change and the housing shortage is extremely encouraging. It’s certainly a good antidote to the evening news.

Accepting the report, Housing Minister Julie James spoke very positively on the decarbonisation agenda and earlier in July accepted all but one of the recommendations of the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply.

As a local government organisation with a mission that looks to improve things without a profit-making agenda, the Welsh Procurement Alliance (WPA) are pleased that we seem to be aligning ourselves well with the general mood around the Welsh social housing sector. In particular we have been having very positive meetings recently around the plans we have in place to establish new frameworks to assist Housing Associations and Councils deliver housing refurbishment work and decarbonisation work.

Our WPA members’ executive committee gave us good feedback during the previous week and more recently, the WPA team met with over 25 contractors from around Wales to talk about our plans for the new frameworks. We are hoping the majority of these companies will be bidding for the various workstreams across various value bands and regional lots. The whole house refurbishment Contract Notice is now out, so by all means get your favourite local contractors to contact us and we can point them in the right direction.

The whole house refurbishment framework will be live by Jan 2020, if all goes to plan with the procurement process, and by April 2020 we are aiming to have the decarbonisation/energy efficiency framework in place.

I head into the holidays encouraged that we have got lots of good work to do after the summer break.

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