Local People into Local Construction Jobs and the System of Section 106 Planning Agreements: Is there a better way
Rebecca Lovelace (BSoc Sc), June 2007.
This report examines the system of Section 106 Planning Agreements in London, specifically the use of local employment and training clauses as applied to construction projects by local authorities through the planning process. It presents the hypothesis that the application of ‘best endeavour’ requests for the delivery of construction employment and training opportunities for local residents does not provide a coherent and comprehensive means for local people to access sustainable jobs and training, nor does it contain any real understanding of the needs of the construction industry, nor the local context in terms of an availability of skilled, trained and experienced workers.
A contextual background to the industry briefly looks at construction in London and the skills shortage, along with related diversity issues, and leads to an introduction to the planning process and the use of employment and training clauses to require the provision of on-site opportunities. A systems approach is identified as a theoretical framework from which to better understand Section 106 Planning Agreements and both hard and soft and open and closed systems are explored, along with a focus on the role of the client to achieve system objectives.
Research has been undertaken through the use of questionnaires and follow-up telephone interviews to gain the opinions of local authorities, developers, consultants, principal contractors, employment/training resource personnel and Jobcentre Plus staff involved with the agreement, implementation and delivery of local employment and training clauses specific to two London construction projects. The summary conclusions from the research show general agreement that the use of employment and training clauses is flawed and does not function well.
The report concludes that the Section 106 system linking the requirements of local authorities with individual construction projects neither offers a service to contractors that supports them to meet project efficiency criteria, nor successfully supports the creation of realistic and sustainable employment and training opportunities for local residents.