Gloucester City Council spending creates social value

Gloucester City Council has created over £1.3 million in ‘social value’ for local projects, by looking at how it spends its budgets.

Social value is a measure used by councils to work out how spending can benefit both local communities and the environment.

Since 2020 any city council contract worth over £50,000 must consider any impact on the community’s economic, social, and environmental wellbeing.

Providers must meet a number of targets including promoting local skills and employment, creating healthier, safer and more resilient communities, protecting the environment and promoting social innovation.

Since adopting the policy it has been used in 14 contracts worth over £9 million and it has created £1,329,130 of social value. It includes:  

• 54 hours of Careers Support Sessions for young people.
• £31,357 invested in community support
• 20 new people employed locally and three weeks of work experience for young people.
• £1,400 spent with voluntary groups
• £749,087 spent in the local economy
• 134 volunteer hours for local community projects. 

The scheme has been particularly successful in the £107 million Forum regeneration project, with Reef Group at Kings Square, as part of the £200 million revamp of the city centre with partners Gloucestershire University.

It has seen construction company Kier set up a Learning Hub, based in Nem House on Clarence Street.

The hub has focused on helping people access employment and has hosted more than 2,000 students in workshops and training sessions, a weekly class for Ukrainian refugees polishing their language skills and learning how to apply for jobs and prepare CVs.

The hub also offered interview clothes donated by the community, which are cleaned free of charge by a local dry-cleaners and hosted a recruitment event for ex-offenders.

Councillor Hannah Norman, Cabinet Member for Performance and Resources at Gloucester City Council, said: “Councils are spending tax-payers money and it is our duty to make sure we get as much value from that money as possible. It’s about working smarter and buying from companies that will help us look at different ways we can benefit the community.”