08/06/2020 - 18:32

When supply and demand meets social need: The future of procurement

08/06/2020 - 18:32

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ReNew Property Maintenance is ticking a lot of boxes for Perth clients. Not only has their quality of work been attracting enthusiastic feedback from residents, their social impact is changing the lives of WA’s at-risk young people and engaging wider communities.

ReNew Property Maintenance is ticking a lot of boxes for Perth clients. Not only has their quality of work been attracting enthusiastic feedback from residents, their social impact is changing the lives of WA’s at-risk young people and engaging wider communities.

ReNew is a commercial maintenance service with a twist. It’s a social enterprise - an organisation that uses commercial strategies to support social causes - that raises capital for Dismantle, an established not-for-profit that empowers vulnerable young people. ReNew provides clients with high quality landscaping and property maintenance services while connecting at-risk young people with employment opportunities. Their small teams are made up of a supervisor and two or three trainees - young people doing it tough, for whom ReNew’s support can be life changing.

Youth unemployment, already disproportionately high, is set to worsen following the pandemic, with a recent Grattan Institute report projecting youth unemployment could reach 40%. For vulnerable young people who are even more at risk, ReNew interrupts the cycle by providing the most important job they’ll ever have: their first one. Prior to starting, recruits undergo three months of training, WHS inductions and a work-readiness pack, including a TFN, resume and bank account. It’s designed to lever young people out of circumstantial disadvantage and into a solid future replete with long-term employment.

It was this level of social impact that appealed to the City of Vincent, a council that seeks out socially motivated services. “Social impact is an important consideration in procurement,” City Mayor, Emma Cole, points out. “Additionally, youth issues, including youth unemployment, are a priority for the City of Vincent.”

ReNew’s service provision filled a niggling gap: that of basic, detail oriented but necessary works that larger providers are often reluctant to take on. The small teams are able to achieve attention to detail and a higher quality of work with the WHS protections of an established parent company.

Soon after the contract commenced, the City began receiving positive feedback from residents about the level of cleanliness in their alleyways, and quality of maintenance work around their neighbourhoods. Residents felt able to approach the small teams and began talking to supervisors and employees. ReNew recruits could proudly tell them that this was their first job, while supervisors explained the social impact City of Vincent was supporting.

The commercial model has proved highly successful for ReNew, which has gone from strength to strength since its inception. It’s been accredited by leading industry organisations such as CBRE, Programmed, Colliers International and Spotless, and has established partnerships with Kennards Hire Foundation and Impact100 WA. In 2019, ReNew was also approved as a preferred supplier of WALGA, (WA Local Government Association), for their Parks and Gardens procurement panel.

For Colliers International, one of ReNew’s early clients, the experience has been nothing but positive. “From the time we first reached out, ReNew has been something that we are all proud of,” says assistant property manager Phoebe Laing. “The teams ReNew employs provide high quality work, and the supervisors are very easy to deal with. Our clients have been very impressed with the professionalism and are very keen to embrace socially responsible practices.”

Social procurement is a strong priority for Colliers. “The team are always looking for ways to help the community, whether that is supporting not-for-profits, or engaging contractors that embody the values we think promise social impact,” says Nadia Mohiuddin, also an assistant property manager with Colliers. “For the sites that I have engaged ReNew on, the idea to tackle youth issues was a huge selling point and something we were excited to help put into action.” ReNew fits Colliers particularly well as current projects have been in areas of high youth unemployment, where the issue is keenly felt by residents. “Often the groups in the community who are seen to be perpetrating the big problems are doing so as a product of the system,” Ms Mohiuddin continues. “Mentoring programs are a great way to give someone a helping hand to break down the barriers that society has put up for them.”

Under legislated Social Enterprise Certification programs such as those in the eastern states, services like ReNew are recognised and accredited to meet social procurement requirements. Despite WA not yet having such legislation, WALGA recognises the importance of social procurement through their Sustainable Supplier Performance measures. ReNew, which meets WALGA’s criteria, is a leading example of corporate social responsibility in action, and how purchasing power can create deeper value for clients and communities alike.

ReNew is proof that service provision can be so much more than getting the job done; a sentiment that is already reverberating through Perth communities.
For more information about ReNew, get in touch via contact@renewpm.com.au or by visiting www.renewpm.com.au

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