Brighton and Hove Council is working with CLES to embed community wealth building across the organisation as one of three corporate objectives.
Brighton and Hove isa relatively small city, but its economic footprint in Greater Brighton is significant.It is home to an enterprising economy and highly qualified workforce, with 218 digital business start-ups in 2018 alone and more than 400,000 jobs in 40,000 businesses in the Greater Brighton area.
There is a strong social and solidarity economy, made up of co–operatives, community housing groups, charities and third sector organisations.
However, affordable housing is a significant problem with a high percentage of people living in the private rented sector and high and rising rents contributing to insecure housing, homelessness and rising food bank usage.
In response to these issues the newly elected Council has committed to putting community wealth building at the heart of the its business operations, using its spending power and land and property to build a more equitable local economy.
Community Wealth Building in Brighton and Hove
Progressive procurement and clear articulation of social value
Brighton and Hove Council spend £270m on procuring goods and services, working with 1,000s of suppliers, ranging from a simple quotation process, to complex tenders. The Council have taken a more voracious approach to the social value agenda than many, and have utilised the vagaries of the Social Value Act tomaximise the social and economic benefits of their spending for local residents. In practical terms, the Council applies a flexible social value weighting of between 10% and 30%and provide guidance for procurers and commissioners to support them to do this in a joined-up manner. There is a clear articulation of what social value means, with nine social value principles outlined.
Amplifying the power of local businesses to create economic and social value
CLES is working with the Council toharness the power of strong business citizenship already prevalent in Brighton and Hove.For instance, a major movement in Brighton has been around paying the Real Living Wage. The City Council is one of the organisations that are signed up and accredited as a Real Living Wage employer. Across Brighton there are a total of 576 organisations who have signed up. This is a significant body of employers within the city, demonstrating admirable business citizenship and will bring real benefits to Brighton’s residents.
The Council is supporting the local community-led housing movement, with a commitment to allocate sites for locally led housing development. Brighton has an active community of 15 active community-led housing groups, with Brighton Community Land Trust (BCLT) operating as an umbrella organisation. BCLT has secured funding from the Community Housing Fund to develop capacity locally and is funding a post to search for private property and land that may be suitable for housing development, a post that has alerted the Council to property coming onto the market that it is now seeking to buy. Further collaboration between BCLT and Brighton and Hove Council will discover innovative ways to solve local housing challenges.