• Lead Member Peopletoo
  • Participating Members Barking and Dagenham Council, Birmingham City Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Newcastle City Council, Peopletoo, Preston City Council, Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Salford City Council, South Tyneside Council, Stevenage Borough Council, Torbay Council
  • Year 2023
  • Status Policy Labs

Principles met

  • We will develop systems that enable citizens to be equal partners in designing and commissioning public services and in determining the use of public resources.
  • 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.

About the project

This project is being sponsored by Peopletoo, Affiliate Members of the Network. Peopletoo wishes to support the increased awareness and understanding of social value and maximising social outcomes across local government.  Social value should be mainstreamed in local government. The public sector pound can generate substantial social value without increased cost and in many cases can deliver lower costs and improved service sustainability whilst contributing positively to local communities.

Although there are pockets of best practice across local government, it is inconsistent and requires increased awareness and a systematic approach across organisations to ensure that social value is one of the core outcomes measured and evaluated.

We believe that there are a range of opportunities to generate social value and would be keen to explore these and additional areas in more detail:
Employment, Assets, Support Vulnerable Groups, Local Communities, Local Businesses, Sustainable Services, Environmental Impact, Regeneration & Economic Development.

Executive Summary

Social value is in need of a re-think. Especially as the country is told to brace for Levelling Up. For 13 years, Peopletoo have been creating value for people, place and community, and our partnership with the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network (CCIN) is helping us maximise our ability
to enact positive impact on local communities across the country.

This report outlines the challenges facing local authorities with regards to social value, as well as what solutions are possible and how they can be implemented going forward. The report also draws on extensive case studies from Peopletoo’s archive of social value successes, including South Tyneside’s “Proud to Support” Community Recognition Campaign and Torbay Council’s Regeneration and Long-Term Sustainable Employment plan.

The report makes it clear that real social impact cannot be achieved while local authorities focus primarily on short-term cost saving rather than longer-term social impact, and the Social Value Act (2013) is too narrow in scope to ensure the long-term benefits to community and society are considered above all else. We hope that the Best Practice case studies within this report highlight the great benefits of thinking long-term, while the findings of the report will encourage local authorities and community bodies to re-think how they approach procurement and other decisions that have a social impact on individuals and their communities.

The Government’s ambitions for Levelling Up, outlined in the Levelling Up White Paper (2022) are also key to this report, as we believe that Councils and businesses based in the local community are best placed to deliver maximum social value. More devolved powers and a greater emphasis on local projects benefiting local communities are central to the Government’s Levelling Up plans, and this report outlines how these principles have already been considered in our Best Practice case studies, as well as how future social value projects can best incorporate the principles of Levelling Up.