Principles met

  • We will promote community-based approaches to economic development that focus on supporting the creation of jobs, social enterprises and other businesses and providing an environment for co-operative and mutual enterprises to thrive.
  • We will embrace innovation in how we work with local communities to drive positive change.
  • We will capture and ‘expand’ the experience and learning from individual projects and approaches in order to encourage broader application of co-operative principles within individual member Councils and across the Network.
  • We will support the development of a framework and criteria for social value, giving substance to the concept and supporting Councils with the tools to ensure better local social and economic outcomes.
  • As a membership organisation, we will make this statement of our principles operational by: • Co-operation among members: Our members work together to help each other implement our values, sharing experiences and learning. • Openness of membership: Full, Associate and Affiliate Membership is open to any qualifying Council, organisation or individual who shares our values and is committed to putting them into action. • Co-production of the Network’s work: Members help shape the Network’s work programme and the content of events and written products. • Action-focused: The network is a vehicle for helping councils translate co-operative values and principles into policy and practice. •Membership-based: The network is majority funded by modest membership subscriptions from its member Councils, Associates and Affiliates. •Non-party-political: Members share the belief that working co-operatively within and across communities holds the key to tackling today’s challenges.

Building on a deep-rooted history of progressive socio-economic action, Manchester City Council began investigating sustainable procurement in the mid-2000s – many years before the introduction of the Social Value Act. By 2016, we were one of the first local authorities to apply a 20% weighting to social value in our tenders, and in 2021, we introduced an additional 10% environmental weighting. With over 60% of our spending going to local organisations, Manchester is rightly recognised as an innovative leader in social value. Still, today, we are again asking ourselves – how can we do more?

Our Manchester: putting residents first

‘Our Manchester – Forward to 2025’ is the current 10-year strategy for our city. It provides an overarching framework for everything we do and is underpinned by what our diverse residents have told us. It guides all our work towards making Manchester fairer, sustainable, and more inclusive. Different interconnecting priorities flow from this strategy, one of which is maximising the impact of social value across the whole Council, in our supply chains, and with our wider partners.

Social value as a strategic mechanism

Manchester City Council does business with companies who give something back to the city and we are proud of our sustainable procurement practices. Our Integrated Procurement and Commissioning Team also play an important role in training staff and developing systems for social value.

However, we recognise that the social value conversation needs to happen beyond tendering. As such, we have a Social Value Governance Board where senior cross-departmental colleagues (including Executive Members and the City Treasurer) coordinate social value work across the Council. This allows us to see social value as a broader mechanism which can respond to strategic priorities and locality needs. For example, our recent Anti-Poverty Strategy and Economic Strategy both explicitly consider the role of social value in ‘transitioning to a zero carbon and resilient economy’, and ‘including more people in economic opportunities’.

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