Enabling Co-operation and Collaboration in London Construction SMEs

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I led a diverse and expert research team in a project to identify ways in which greater SME collaboration could be encouraged in London’s construction sector. Commissioned by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) as part of the Greater London Joint Initiative, and involving a team that included Dr Jonathan Pratt, the Open University’s Co-operatives Research Unit, Co-operatives UK, RetrofitWorks Co-op and public sector stakeholders, the project focused on how collaborative working could in particular open up new contract opportunities for London firms.

“This research brought valuable insights into the issues that SMEs face in growing their businesses, and into the kind of steps that public sector partners can take to enable greater collaboration and access to new work.”

Janette Welton-Pai, Partnership Manager, CITB

 Based on a review of key datasets and desk sources and a series of interviews and discussions with businesses from across the various construction sub-sectors, the project identified:

  • The changing context of public sector procurement and construction SMEs
  • The main issues that construction businesses face in accessing public sector contract opportunities
  • Key themes in existing collaborative activity, including the creation of new producer co-operatives
  • Specific steps that could be tested to enable greater collaboration among London’s construction SMEs, and so access to new contract opportunities

The CITB, the LEP and the Greater London Joint Initiative Steering Group are now using the research to inform future activity which supports SME collaboration in the capital.