CASE STUDY: MOLA – Supporting Local Communities

Over a period of 3 years, MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) worked on the A14 on behalf of Highways England, with as many as 250 colleagues working on sites along the route during the peak phase of fieldwork.

These archaeological professionals were based in the area for two years, and the fact that many of the teams were working away from their home bases meant that accommodation and facilities were provided for staff. When they used local hotels and rented local offices, they contributed to local businesses and supported local employment. When they used local shops and restaurants for shopping and eating, they contributed to other areas of the local economy. Even short-term spending at medium levels can enable investment, which in turn contributes to the resilience of local businesses in the future.

Archaeology’s economic impact is not insignificant. In 2017-2018, approximately 6,800 archaeologists worked in the UK’s developer-led sector, generating around £218 million for the UK economy.  This investment, particularly when targeted toward local economies, can be considered very much within the remit of social value, which encompasses spending strategies, a deliberately positive impact on the local economy, and long-term benefits for employment.

Archaeological organisations working in local communities are encouraged to plan their spending to ensure it is invested responsibly, with the aim of supporting small or medium businesses, regional employers, and the local supply chain. This might require more effort in researching local businesses, but it can contribute to the positive impact of your corporate spending in an economically sustainable way.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme encourages the use of local suppliers and sub-contractors, with an overt acknowledgement that investing in local economies is one way to provide a significant benefit to the public and respond to the social value creation of the overall project. In this way the investment in local communities and support of these networks is assured, and they can move onto the next major infrastructure project leaving a positive economic legacy as part of their archaeological endeavours.

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Museum of London Archaeology

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