What is Social Value?
Social Value is the wider benefit gained by a local community from the delivery of public contracts or services.
Some of the benefits of such an approach include supporting the local economy, measures to address the climate emergency, promoting fair employment practices, investing in the future workforce, and strengthening the local voluntary and community sector.
Considering Social Value during the decision-making process is not a replacement for evaluating the financial return or quality of core service delivery objectives, but an opportunity to gather the maximum social benefit from the council's economic position in the city.
The embedding of Social Value principles in service, investment and commissioning appraisals can result in more effective approaches to achieving the council's strategic objectives and tackling our most difficult challenges.
How does Social Value fit into Community Wealth Building?
Social Value plays an important role in Community Wealth Building as it is a measure of the benefits a democratic economy can bring to communities in addition to those delivered directly as a result of public sector activity or service delivery.
Preston's Community Wealth Building (CWB) strategy1 outlines a number of ways in which the council will increase its contribution to Social Value by:
- Including a Social Value policy within the Local Plan to encourage all developments above an agreed threshold to maximise social value.
- Ensuring that all qualifying new housing developments deliver an Employment and Skills Plan.
- Seizing new funding opportunities, including central government programmes, for apprenticeships, training, and skills development.
- Exploring options for staff to contribute to mentoring and volunteering programmes.
- Building on the experience of partnership working with voluntary, community and faith groups during the pandemic to support the further development of this sector.
- Engaging with representatives of civil society including the Preston Chapter of Citizens UK and local trade unions.
- Developing a Climate Action Plan and implementing measures to reduce the carbon footprint of the council.
What is Preston City Council's approach to Social Value in procurement?
The Social Value (2012) Act requires Social Value to be considered in all public sector procurement tenders over an agreed threshold. It states that public authorities must have "regard to economic, social, and environmental well-being''.
Public procurement, often referred to as 'progressive procurement', is one of the pillars of Community Wealth Building because of the opportunities it creates to contribute to the development of a resilient and inclusive local economy.
The council's CWB strategy2 included a commitment to embed the wider benefits for employment and training, community development, health and wellbeing, the environment and climate resilience in its approach to procurement by rolling out a bespoke Social Value Procurement Framework across the council.
This framework has been developed and is a central part to our approach to Social Value. Where a contract value meets the Social Value threshold, Social Value considerations will be detailed in the council's commissioning and procurement documentation, evaluated in the tender process, and monitored as part of the overall contract management process.
Suppliers will be asked to explain how their current practices align with the values and ambitions of the council and to set out the additional benefits they will provide as part of the delivery of the contract. These additional benefits will be selected for each procurement from Preston's Social Value Procurement Framework which indicates to suppliers what the council's priorities are and helps us compare different Social Value commitments made by suppliers in a fair and transparent way.