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Liverpool City Region is set to be the first in the country to incorporate an evaluation of social value in its Spatial Development Strategy (SDS), the strategic spatial planning document for the City Region.

Liverpool-based specialist consultancy RealWorth has been appointed to work alongside the Combined Authority as it develops its first SDS.

They will help the Combined Authority to evaluate the social value of every policy within the SDS, at every stage in its development, to ensure that they consider the social impacts, in areas such as health and wellbeing, as well as their economic outcomes.

The SDS will set out an integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of the Liverpool City Region over the next 20–25 years.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Devolution enables us to do things differently and we have seized that opportunity with both hands when it comes to developing policy.

“Fairness and social justice are at the heart of everything we do.  That’s why we were the first Combined Authority to set up a standing Fairness and Social Justice Advisory Board to scrutinise all of our policies and decisions, as we make them.

“And we are the first Combined Authority to incorporate a social value evaluation into our Strategic Development Strategy.  Economic growth in the city region needs to benefit everyone and that is why we are determined to ensure that the social and environmental impact of any future development is considered alongside the more traditional economic measures.

“Pioneering this approach is key to ensuring that, for decades to come, our city region’s economic growth benefits all of our residents.”

Councillor Derek Long, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Spatial Planning, said: “As we plan for the future we need to take into account the impact that development has on individuals and communities, rather than focusing purely on economic factors.  That is why it is so important that we are pioneering this exciting work that will ensure we maximise the social value of future development in our city region.”

Erik Bichard from RealWorth said “The potential to increase social value for people in the Liverpool City Region is a deeply held aspiration for the Metro Mayor and his team. It takes a forward-looking organisation to integrate this aspiration into policy and practice. This project will put the city region at the forefront of this agenda. RealWorth is looking forward to sharing our social value approach with the Combined Authority and others to make the strategy as inclusive and effective as possible.”

RealWorth have been appointed to work with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to deliver an ongoing social value evaluation of the Spatial Development Strategy as it progresses to an initial non-statutory consultation, on to policy development and through to the final version.

A joint conference exploring how social value can inform development policy, organised by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and RealWorth, is planned for later this year.

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