Community Wealth Building in Manchester

(2009 – ongoing) 

CLES has been working with Manchester City Council for over a decade to address the social and economic challenges faced by the city through progressive procurement. This has reaped benefits for the local authority, the supply chain, the local economy and, importantly, the residents of Manchester.


  • Manchester faces significant challenges with persistent poverty. The proportion of people claiming health-related out of work benefits is higher than the national average, employment figures are lower than regional and national averages and the percentage of workless households (18.9%) is higher than both the North West (16.3%) and national (14.3%) averages.
  • Manchester City Council is a major investor in the city. In recent years it has led the delivery of significant investment projects in the city, including the refurbishment of the Old Town Hall Project and the construction of the new Factory Arts Centre, with combined budgets of over £400m.
  • CLES have been working with Manchester City Council since 2009 to harness the spending power of the City Council and wider anchor institutions to maximise economic and social benefit for Manchester’s residents.

Community wealth building in Manchester

Greater Manchester Social Value Procurement Framework

Manchester City Council’s corporate appetite to push forward a progressive procurement agenda is commendable, with many achievements like setting up an ethical procurement sub-group, engaging suppliers in areas of high deprivation (including linking with VCS support providers).

Most notable however is the Greater Manchester Social Value Procurement Framework – the first such framework developed in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, putting Manchester at the forefront of practice around social value. This embeds social value in all aspects of the procurement cycle, and importantly measures the contribution suppliers make to a range of indicators. In addition, 10% of the 20% weighting for social value in the procurement process is reserved for environmental indicators. Our collaboration with the Council has resulted in a plethora of activities over the years, including:

  • streamlining the tender process;
  • linking procurement to priorities;
  • developing cross-departmental working;
  • embedding social value into the tender decision;
  • encouraging voluntary consideration of the living wage;
  • implementing ethical (procurement) policy;
  • developing relationships with the economic development unit;
  • undertaking pre-market engagement;
  • developing existing supplier relationships;
  • engaging with suppliers in areas of deprivation;
  • continuing to measure direct spend; and,
  • understanding the impact of the supply chain in more depth.

Manchester’s fantastic progress in innovative procurement techniques showcases what a long-term project around procurement can achieve. For instance, the proportion of spend with Manchester-based organisations has increased from 51.5% in 2008/09 to 59.9% in 2020/21. More data on CLES’s most recent analysis can be found here and here. 

Case Study: Our Town Hall

Achieving social value was included as an objective for the project to redevelop Manchester Town Hall and was embedded from the start in an approach that is supported by senior leadership and the project management office.

To date the project, which continues until 2024, has achieved:

  • 67% spend in Manchester
  • 35 new jobs created
  • 80 school engagement sessions
  • Over 1,500 HE students engaged
  • 61 work placements provided
  • 23 apprentice starts
  • 2897 volunteer hours spent
  • Full compliance with Living Wage and Ethical Procurement Policies

See also

Greater Manchester Community Wealth Hub →

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