Communities at the heart of new spending policy
The draft social value policy outlines how any spending over £50k in commissioned or procured services must consider and mitigate impacts on communities.
A new policy being proposed by Gloucester City Council puts the city’s communities at the very centre of procurement decisions made by the authority.
The Social Value Policy outlines that any procurement or commissioning proposals with a value of more than £50,000 need to consider and outline the impact on communities’ economic, social, and environmental wellbeing, as well as seek to mitigate those impacts.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 came in to force in January 2013, and while the council has been making all commissioning decisions in accordance with the act, it is looking to take things a step further by implementing this ambitious policy for all procurement decisions above £50,000, from high strategic level to day to day activities.
When procuring or commissioning services or works with a value of £50,000 or more, Gloucester City Council will ask organisations to select from options to help achieve social value requirements, and to support the council’s commitment to Asset Based Community Development. The ABCD approach has been adopted by the council since 2012 to work with communities in the city to support and empower residents by focusing on strengths and on what matters most to them. This practice by the City Council has been recognised by a national innovation foundation and is seen as pioneering and a best practice approach to engaging with residents.
If approved and brought in, a toolkit will be developed to explain to contractors what would be expected of them, as well as to help staff understand the importance of Social Value considerations in their work.
Adoption of the policy will provide the following benefits:
- Encouraging a diverse base of suppliers - Promoting supplier diversity; including the participation of small and medium sized enterprises (SME’s) and 3rd sector organisations, and local suppliers in general;
- Promoting fair employment practices - Ensuring workforce equality and diversity within supply chains;
- Meeting targeted recruitment and training needs - Offering a range of apprenticeship, training and skills development opportunities as well as employment opportunities;
- Community benefits - Maximising opportunities for organisations to participate in the council’s supply chains and encouraging suppliers to make a social contribution to the local area;
- Ethical sourcing practices - Ensuring compliance with UK, EU and international standards, promoting fair trade and fair pricing policies, tackling corruption, child labour, animal welfare, blacklisting of union members and similar social issues; and
- Promoting greater environmental sustainability - Minimising waste and pollution, supporting carbon reduction initiatives, furthering energy efficiency and other sustainability programmes.
Cllr Jennie Watkins, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said: “Gloucester City Council already uses many of these principles to ensure decisions we make positively impact residents’ lives as much as possible, and that we work in partnership with residents and communities to achieve best outcomes, but we feel we can do much more.
“The Social Value Policy sets at a high level the council’s commitment to ensuring our services, and any we contract out to other providers, specifically supports our communities’ needs and that we ensure the outcomes we desire are achieved.”