Social Value Commitment

Working together with local people and city partners from the voluntary, private, and public sectors, we have developed a Social Value Commitment for the city. In February 2015 this commitment was approved by Cabinet and the principles set out below now shape all of the commissioning and procuring that we do as a Council. 

We encourage all city partners to adopt these principles in the commissioning and procurement that they do.

 

What is Social Value?

Social value is value that accrues in our local communities.  It is what residents say is valuable to them, for example a stable job, a good place to live, and equal access to a range of quality services in the local area. 

In making a Social Value Commitment, we want to help both create social value, and recognise its worth.

Social value is not an ‘add-on’ to core business; we will design and embed social value into the goods, works or services we procure in the first place.
 

Our Principles

In developing our local Commitment, we have talked with local partners from the city’s social enterprise, voluntary, charitable and private sectors to find out what they and their stakeholders think social value is in Newcastle, and how they think it should be recognised.  These partnership discussions have led us to set out the following principles.

 

Think, buy, support Newcastle

We will value local spend and recognise that social value is a part of our core business.

Spending money locally generates value across our supply chain, and effectively delivers it to local people.  For instance, research by the Federation of Small Businesses  suggests that every £1 spent by a local authority with local small and medium enterprises (SME) generated an additional 63p of benefit for the local economy.

It is therefore important that we place appropriate value on the spending of money in our local economy. To do this, where the market and the law allows, we will prioritise targeting our procurement spend towards Newcastle-based organisations.

 

Community focussed

We will seek to understand and deliver value that local people recognise. We will not assume that we know what people in the city want, but instead, we will ensure that we have mechanisms in place for local people and partners to feedback to us on a regular basis and use this feedback to shape our practice.

In doing this, we believe that we should – together with partners who have a common interest in the future growth, success and vibrancy of the city – push for greater recognition of, and response to, the specific local social challenges in everything we do.

For example, we could use our collective purchasing power to push for more jobs and apprenticeships in the city, or encourage businesses to offer a greater contribution to local people through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity.

 

Ethical leadership

We understand that social value is not just about CSR or legal obligations, but is integrally linked to our ethics and beliefs. We will therefore seek to work with businesses that employ high ethical standards within their practice, and those who want to work to improve their ethical approach.

For example, we will aim to support those organisations that pay their staff a living wage, those that utilise environmentally sustainable practices and those that ultimately have a positive effect on our communities through the work that they do. We will also aim to procure Fairtrade products wherever possible, as part of the city’s commitment to Fairtrade.

 

Green and sustainable

As part of our ethics commitment, we commit to using resources efficiently and protecting the environment by minimising waste and energy consumption. We want Newcastle to continue to be a great place to live, work and visit and we know that to do this we need to look after our environment.

As well as ensuring our own high performance in this area as part of our Climate Change Commitment , and our commitment to prepare for its impacts  we will work with partners and providers to promote green and sustainable practice in the work that we commission and procure. For example, we will encourage recycling to reduce waste, minimise negative local impacts such as noise pollution, promote measures to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, and ensure providers are considering how climate change will affect their business. 

 

Enabling change

To do all of this, we need to equip ourselves and others to create and recognise the broad selection of things which together deliver social value. For our Commitment to be meaningful, we need to be very active in enabling both Council staff (particularly but not only, commissioning and procurement staff), and also our local private, social enterprise and voluntary sector partners to respond to the challenge. 

This means ensuring people understand not only our high level principles, but also what social value might look like in their context and, critically, what they might personally do to create it. We will develop an appropriate, lean approach to assessing and measuring social value contributions that embeds it as part of what we do, day today.

 

Identifying, implementing and measuring Social Value

With support from, local stakeholders, B2B North, and the Department for Culture Media and Sport, we have developed an approach to identifying and securing social value opportunities through the whole commissioning and procurement cycle. We have worked hard to respond to the requirements of the Social Value Act including ‘designing in’ social value during the service design phase, as well as setting out how we will implement social value opportunities identified during the procurement and contract management phases. 

This process responds to the principle of ensuring a ‘Fair Share’ identified by the Newcastle Fairness Commission, as it seeks to balance and give equal voice to the needs of all stakeholders - communities, businesses, service users, consumers.

We have developed a set of social value opportunity identification (SVOI) questions which we use to identify social value opportunities where appropriate.  These are set out below along with information about where in the commissioning and procurement process you can expect to see changes as a result. The SVOI questions were tested through two trial social value opportunity Identification sessions with stakeholders; you can read more about this testing in the B2B North report to the Cabinet Office.

The SVOI framework is considered in all commissioning exercises using methods that are proportionate with the nature, value and sensitivity of the content.  For major commissioning exercises, for example for those cited in our commissioning intentions the SVOI questions may be used as the basis for a stakeholder event.  For lower value or less sensitive exercises we may use a Let’s Talk consultation, direct communication with interested providers and residents, and/or answer the SVOI questions by talking to relevant Council officers.

 

Social Value Outcomes Identification Framework

 

Think, buy, support Newcastle

  • what benefits will local delivery bring? 
  • how will local people benefit (including but not only service users – think about the broader community who may experience employment, environmental and social benefits?)

Answers may influence:

  • service design and our requirements
  • evaluation questions or methodology
  • key performance indicators (KPIs)

 

Community focused 

Thinking about the whole community (explicitly not service users):

  • what geographic or community boundary options are there within this opportunity that could influence social value
  • what does community data tell us about the potential contract geographies that can help us understand what particular social value related needs or interests exist within these boundaries?

Answers may influence:

  • contract geography decisions
  • lotting structure
  • KPIs

 

 

Ethical leadership 

What ethical issues exist that are linked to the subject matter of the contract:

  • relating to service users or customers?
  • relating to the whole supply chain?
  • relating to the community as a whole?
  • how could these be resolved, and what benefits would accrue to the community if this was achieved?

Answers may influence:

  • service design and our requirements
  • contract clauses
  • evaluation questions and methodology
  • KPIs
  • the procurement process including elements of the selection questionnaire (SQ)

 

Green and sustainable 

What environmental sustainability issues exist that are linked to the subject matter of the contract:

  • relating to service users or customers?
  • relating to any goods or consumables that are frequently used in the current model?
  • relating to use of natural resources in the current model?
  • relating to the community as a whole?

Answers may influence:

  • service design and our requirements
  • contract clauses
  • evaluation questions and methodology
  • KPIs
  • the procurement process including elements of the SQ

 

Did you know?

All of the food and drink that we buy through our contracts is Fairtrade certified, which helps make sure that producers are paid a fair amount for their goods;

All of the paper and timber we buy is Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited, meaning that we only buy from the most ethical and sustainable sources;

We are signed up to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Construction Charter, meaning that workers on our works contracts get access to fair and safe conditions.

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