Local jobs, tackling inequality and combatting the climate crisis at the heart of new Liverpool City Region Social Value Framework
Giving something back to the community is to be embedded in all Liverpool City Region Combined Authority activities – including the awarding of contracts and funds.
Under its new social value framework, that launches today, benefits to the local community will become a much bigger part of awarding combined authority contracts and could include the training and employment of local people, the use of local suppliers or the inclusion of apprenticeships in contracts.
Social value will help shape key decisions on where to spend or invest more than £100m the authority receives each year under devolution – to deliver a fairer, stronger and greener city region with no one left behind.
And from today, the authority will ensure social value is a core part of decision-making for all contracts above £20,000.
Building on existing good practice, the framework goes beyond minimum social value requirements and ensures community benefits apply across all combined authority activities – as an employer, as a commissioner and provider of services, as an investor and a civic leader.
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“As a public body, we have a duty to ensure that every pound we spend and every decision we take positively impacts the communities that we represent. Delivering prosperity for our city region is not just about maximising the financial value that we are able to generate, but the social value too.
“The fantastic – and unique – thing about social value is that it measures the changes that matter to the people who need it most.
“And as Mayor, I want to make the Liverpool City Region the fairest, most inclusive place in the country with an economy that works for everyone. Alongside with the important work we are doing on Community Wealth Building, ensuring that we are embedding social value in everything that we do will be key to bringing that vision to life.
“Every year, the Combined Authority spends more than £100m and, in doing so, I want to ensure that we’re getting the biggest bang for our buck and making the greatest difference possible. That could be by investing in projects led by underrepresented groups, improving people’s confidence and ability to find work, or easing their money worries by improving the energy efficiency of their homes.
“I don’t want the Combined Authority to just make good investments, but investments that do good too.”
The Combined Authority employs more than 950 people, including hundreds of transport staff, and the framework identifies a raft of activities including increasing staff diversity, encouraging staff volunteering and developing graduate talent.
Maximising social value is already considered when the authority procures goods and services – including adult education. It uses local community organisations and social businesses through its Community Suppliers List, and providing jobs and training including for hard-to-reach groups is written into the housing retrofit contracts.
In the long term the authority will seek to use its influence and purchasing power to improve working conditions and wages through its supply chain and may develop opportunities for suppliers to give money to social value projects.
The authority will also seek to increase the amount of money that is spent and retained in the local economy, and to create a more diverse suppliers list.
Social value is considered in all investments made by the combined authority – from large strategic projects to small green schemes receiving support from the Community Environment Fund. The authority also helped set up Kindred which invests in socially trading organisations and included social value into the tender process for LCR Connect, which is creating a full fibre network across the city region.
A new tool will be developed to assess investments so that additional social value requirements can be written into all funding agreements.
The Combined Authority is already adding social value in its role as a provider of services – including transport, training and employment and tackling homelessness.
The Housing First scheme employs people with experience of being homeless and the authority provides social value through concessionary travel, supported bus services, reduced tunnel tolls for LCR residents and other schemes.
Under the new framework, the authority will continue to develop the social value of the services it provides, and net-zero carbon goals will be embedded in all services.
As a civic leader, the authority has added social value by ensuring the views of diverse communities and all ages are considered when developing policies and programmes.
Under the new framework, it will embed social value in its spatial development strategy and continue to improve its engagement with communities.
Social value is seen as an important tool to tackle the city region’s long standing economic, social and environmental challenges that continue to affect the health, wellbeing and quality of life of the city region’s 1.6 million residents.
The framework sets out a consistent approach with day one commitments and longer-term social value aspirations. It includes offering social value training to partner organisations.
Progress and impact will be monitored to identify improvements and a Year One Review will be published next Spring that will seek to measure social impact and identify best practice, that can then be shared with other authorities and institutions.
The social value framework will work in tandem with the Combined Authority’s new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to tackle inequalities. It is also linked to the authority’s Community Wealth Building ambitions.