The North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) has won gold at the National Social Value Awards 2022.

The awards showcase innovation and leadership in social value and NEPO was awarded the Best Public Sector Project.

NEPO’s entry celebrated the social value achievements of NEPO301 Electricity, a national procurement solution that allows UK public sector bodies to access low-carbon electricity. Delivered by sole supplier EDF Energy, NEPO301 Electricity has secured social value commitments worth over £70,000.

NEPO carried out the collaborative procurement project, resulting in the award of a contract to EDF Energy to supply the Electricity Supply and Demand Framework Agreement, used by 23 public sector organisations and valued at approximately £220m.

Nicola Shelley, managing director at NEPO, said: “We are delighted to have been presented with this national award, especially given the outstanding competition that we faced. NEPO works closely with North East local authorities to ensure that social value is embedded across the breadth of our procurement activity.

“One of the main objectives of this procurement was to develop a relationship with a supplier that provides a sound basis for managing and reducing energy usage. Another was to deliver social value for the North East.

“Our strong partnership built with EDF Energy has resulted in positive and tangible outcomes, including a wide range of energy efficiency initiatives and supporting local skills and employment in the region.

“As a result of NEPO’s work, EDF developed a wide range of educational content focussed on STEM subjects for primary and secondary schools. Topics covered electricity generation types, associated carbon factors, the focus on Net Zero and the benefits of renewables. EDF created lesson plans that were classroom ready. To further support delivery, NEPO and EDF worked closely with Bishop Wilkinson Catholic Education Trust which has around 50 schools, helping to ‘teach the teacher’ on the content and supported the implementation of lesson plans into the curriculum.

“Within NEPO’s framework agreement, EDF committed to financially invest in the delivery of decarbonisation for the customer base. After consultation with NEPO’s members, it was decided to put these funds toward the installation of two new Solar PV arrays in two large schools in Durham. To date, plans are well progressed with site surveys having been completed and technical solutions being defined. It is anticipated that installation will commence in summer 2022.

“NEPO301 Electricity is available for use by the UK public sector via NEPO’s free of charge associate membership scheme.”