ICN – 6 months in. February 11th, 2021 Helen Spencer, Director of Development at Great Places', reflects on the framework 6 months in. As we sit here in February 2021, I can’t quite believe that Innovation Chain North (ICN) has been up and running for 6 months! And what a crazy 6 months it has been! We couldn’t have imagined then that we’d still be in lockdown and working remotely with clients and suppliers, nor how much we’d accomplish despite the challenges of coming to terms with the ‘new normal’ – real testament to the hard work and determination of everyone involved in the framework. Below are just some of the highlights of what we have achieved in the last six months: 120 Contractors and Consultants have entered into framework agreements, illustrating their commitment to be part of ICN. We’ve had 18 client sign ups – some existing clients from the past framework, but some new ones attracted by the reputation, expertise and the quality of service offered by our consultants and contractors, the new structure of the framework, the award process and our excellent reputation. 103 consultant call-offs, generating fees of £3.4m. 18 Contractor call-offs with a value of £118m have also been made, with almost 1,200 new homes on the way as a result. We’ve launched the Modular Dynamic Purchasing System, a brand new offer with 8 suppliers of modular homes generating plenty of interest from other companies coming through. This is now supporting the innovative Off-Site Homes Alliance – a pan-Northern collaboration seeking to mobilise more off-site development activity. A new ICN website launched in November, which has received lots of positive feedback from clients and suppliers alike. Social value commitments of over £3m have been agreed and plans put in place to deliver a range of social value activities including 1,000 hours of volunteering, 40 new jobs for customers, and 350 work placement weeks. Our very own Mischa Hollens, who supports the operation of ICN has passed his own apprenticeship and is looking forward to continuing to support the team. So, what’s next for ICN? The work shows no sign in letting up. We remain very much open to new clients keen to take advantage of the framework and are looking forward to supporting more organisations. If you are interested and need any further information, please contact Joanne Whitehead through our contact us page as we’d love to hear from you. Further work is planned to improve the digital offer with a client portal set to go live soon. This will provide a more user friendly and self-service way to engage in the framework. We also anticipate many more call offs for consultants and contractors and more social value commitments as a result and will continue to keep you regular updated on these and other ICN developments on social media and future framework updates. Despite the current challenges posed by the pandemic we remain committed to our original aspirations and excited about the plans which will result in even stronger ICN framework. Thank you to everyone, whose support and involvement has seen us achieve so much in the first six months and for your continued support.