Downloadable Social Value Toolkit to help Lancashire firms generate more sustainable community benefits and increased local prosperity now available
The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has published a new guide to help suppliers deliver more social value and generate increased local benefits into publicly funded-construction projects in order to help improve the county’s economy.
Under the terms of the Social Value Act, introduced in 2013, anyone who commissions public services, such as the LEP, are required to consider how they can secure a substantial social, economic and environmental return on investment for local communities from any public money being spent.
In Lancashire this includes major capital investment programmes, such as the £430m City Deal and £320m Growth Deal, and other housing and infrastructure projects throughout the county.
The 18-page document, entitled the ‘Social Value Toolkit’, is available to download for free from the LEP’s website. It clearly outlines what the principles of social value are, why it is significant to Lancashire, and explains how firms can embed social value benefits into their day-to-day operational practices.
The Toolkit also contains case studies demonstrating how local companies working on construction projects are already delivering substantial added-value to local communities, and to the wider Lancashire economy, through specific employment, training and procurement policies.
For example, the report highlights how developer Lovell has committed to delivering pver 1,000 hours of training for local apprentices as part of the £22m redevelopment programme of Blackpool’s Queens Park housing estate.
Another case study highlights how Balfour Beatty created and delivered a comprehensive local community engagement strategy linked to its recent work at Runshaw College. This resulted in numerous work placements for college students, new apprenticeships for local people and regular projects with local schools, scout groups and community groups.
Balfour Beatty’s work at Runshaw is also cited as an exemplar of local supply chain best practice with regards to over 80% all of staff, sub-contractors and suppliers coming from within 30 miles of the site.
The Toolkit also includes a ‘Social Value Matrix’, which highlights the many different ways social value can be generated through a range of approaches and interventions. These include a commitment to helping develop a future workforce through the provision of apprenticeship schemes, graduate placement programmes, work-experience opportunities and internships.
How to develop an inclusive workforce is another area focussed on, showing how employers could consider guaranteeing a set number of job opportunities targeted at the long-term unemployed, ex-offenders, and young people who are not currently in education or training.
In addition, details of how the LEP and its partners assess and monitor the social value elements of any LEP funded programme are covered. This includes how social value is embedded as a guiding principle in the project from its earliest inception to its completion, how both the supplier and the LEP intend to benchmark and monitor the social value outcomes from any scheme, and what the social value legacy will be for the local community once the development is finished. The Toolkit also contains a directory of contacts and support services which can help advise companies tendering for any public sector work in Lancashire on how to build a stronger social value element into any contract bids.
Edwin Booth, Chair of the Lancashire LEP, said: “This Toolkit has been created to help companies delivering publicly funded LEP schemes in Lancashire to not only meet the objectives outlined in the Social Value Act, but also to add as much value as possible to the Lancashire economy through creating new training and employment opportunities at a local level.
“This is to ensure that schemes delivered through programs like the £320m Growth Deal and £430m City Deal result in far more than just new roads and houses, and highlight that for every property development there is potential for all suppliers to build in social value initiatives which will have a productive, positive and lasting impact on the local community.
“I’d also encourage any employer in Lancashire to download it and see how they can support the LEP’s drive to create new jobs, address the skills gaps, and tackle issues like long-term unemployment across the county, by contributing whatever they can at a local level in accordance with the principles of social value.”
To download a copy of the Toolkit visit http://www.lancashirelep.co.uk/lep-priorities/growth-deal/social-value.aspx