Expert judging panel takes shape for SPA Awards

The six expert judges for the inaugural SPA Awards, hosted by cyclist Marc Beaumont, have been confirmed by the Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA). The judging panel comprises industry experts from: local authorities, housing associations, academia, public sector procurement and social enterprise.

Dr Robert Hairstans, Associate Professor at Edinburgh Napier University, undertakes research, innovation and knowledge exchange activities in order to deliver construction technologies for tomorrow’s communities within a circular economy. Dr Hairstans is head of the Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures (COCIS) and a Senior Lecturer within the School of Engineering and the Built Environment (SEBE).

Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Sally Thomas has worked for several housing associations in London and the North East of England. She has chaired and served on a variety of boards in the housing, arts, health and charitable sectors, and is currently Vice-Chair of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA).

Corporate Procurement Manager for Perth and Kinross Council and SPA Chair, Mary Mitchell, is an enthusiastic advocate of procurement reform in the Scottish public sector. Her career in supply chain management began in automotive distribution and further experience was gained in a large multi-national insurance company, working in property management and as a partner in an SME. Mary holds seats on several national authority reference groups and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.

Alice Thompson is the co-founder Social Bite, a national scale social-enterprise café chain that employs and feeds the homeless community throughout Scotland. Alice is passionate about ending homelessness in Scotland using the Housing First program, of which Social Bite are leading the funding of, as well as a collaborative movement with leading homelessness charities.

Group Director of LHC, John Skivington, is the sixth judge of the SPA Awards. LHC is a leading not-for-profit public sector purchasing consortium that provides best value procurement solutions for the refurbishment, retrofit and maintenance of social housing, schools and other public sector buildings in the UK. John’s role as LHC Group Director is to realise LHC's mission to be the Centre of Excellence for public sector procurement solutions for better homes and buildings.

Nile Istephan, has been Chief Executive of Eildon Housing Association since April 2010 and prior to that he held several senior roles in Scottish Homes, Communities Scotland and the Scottish Government. Nigel is also currently the Vice Chairman of the SFHA.

The awards are free to attend for SPA partners and they can submit nominations for all six of the awards. Entries are open until 31st August 2018. The awards include: Best Housing Project, Most Sustainable Project, Best Community Benefit Initiative, Most Innovative Project, Best Use of Rebate and the Gold Hat Award for Best Appointed Company. A variety of table packages are available for the appointed companies to purchase.

Keep an eye on in September to find out who has been shortlisted for a SPA Award. The winners of each award will be announced at the SPA Awards on Wednesday 3rd October at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow. The hotly awaited event will be a celebration of the dedication and achievements of the Scottish public sector.

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