Pagabo to introduce mental health questions into procurement process

Gerard Toplass, group CEO of The 55 Group and Pagabo.

National framework provider Pagabo is introducing mental health questioning into its procurement documents.

The move follows a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Issues Affecting Men and Boys advising more stringent mental health provisions within construction contracts. 

Pagabo has now shown support through a commitment to including criteria within its procurement documents. 

Gerard Toplass, group CEO of The 55 Group and Pagabo, has confirmed that despite the construction industry’s less than perfect track record on mental health support, things are set to change.  

He said: “I think it’s a good idea to introduce a mental health narrative into all contracts so that all businesses within the supply chain are asked to demonstrate how they are looking after their people during projects.  

“It’s important we recognise that all parts of the supply chain carry stress at different times. 

“Contractors are responsible for the majority of the professionals, and no one is denying the difficulty of a long day on site. 

“However, those specialising in bidding and pre-construction services agreements, for example, are exposed to a different type of stress that can just as easily boil over into more sustained mental health problems. 

“I am confident that integrating provisions within procurement documents is one of the best ways to achieve greater accountability.”

He added: “During my time in the industry, I have never seen a contract clause with a specific reference to mental health in it – there are good practices and health and safety at work but nothing on mental health. 

“At Pagabo we have the opportunity to champion change and set the standard by crafting high-quality questions to ensure the tender process is more competitive and mindful of staff wellbeing. 

“We must be asking ‘how do you?’ and not just ‘do you?’. We can weight questions to help demonstrate to suppliers how important their answers are – the same way we already do with social value for example. 

“At a senior level, leaders within the industry are leading by example. The Pagabo Foundation is on a mission to build mental health awareness within the industry and initiatives we’ve led on have been oversubscribed. All the signs are encouraging but there is no time to waste because people need support now. 

“This is why we are not only working on changing our procurement process but also investing in new technology. I believe we are soon going to see an explosion of innovative tech solutions that have the capability to access every area of the construction industry, remove the taboo and help as many people as possible – and indeed we have our own plans here that will be announced soon.  

“Every individual will respond different to services available so it’s essential that while unique solutions are developed, whether that’s through changing procurement criteria or new technology, there also must be top-level decision makers within government legislating responsibility on those less interested in change.” 

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