”They return the love around here, don’t they?” – Guy Garvey
In its recently published Levelling Up White Paper, the government argued that the power of public procurement should be used to deliver support to communities and pledged to put social value at the heart of government spending. The forthcoming Procurement Bill will, the government argue, provide the means to realise this ambition. In this, there is much that can be learned from the work of Manchester City Council.
This article originally appeared in The MJ.
The everyday activities of local anchor institutions present numerous opportunities to advance social value. Whether it’s a local authority commissioning a new homecare service or the use of targeted pre-employment training programmes by the NHS, these practices can be used to generate wider social, economic and environmental outcomes for people, place and planet.
Social value and public expenditure
Social value has traditionally been associated with procurement activity and the use of social value frameworks. Over the last 18 months, however, the Government has published a raft of procurement policy notices, which encourage the adoption of more progressive practice to support local economies and enable more SMEs and social businesses to enter public sector supply chains. This guidance was reaffirmed and strengthened within last year’s procurement green paper and, following public consultation, the publication of the Government’s new Procurement Bill is now imminent.
This article originally appeared in The MJ.
Economic recovery from COVID-19 will be a long and painful process. When the pandemic struck, we at CLES argued for a new common-sense approach to economic development based on the principles of community wealth building.
From this emerged our plea for local government to muscle-up and embrace a series of key interventions to lead the charge to build back better. In our Own the future publication, we fleshed out a number of practical actions, which taken together, constitute an achievable vision for a just recovery and the social, democratic and economic reform of localities, led by local authorities.
Yesterday we released our yearly analysis of the contribution that Manchester City Council’s procurement spend makes to the city’s economy and how it can support the achievement of wider social and environmental outcomes. Here, David Burch, lead analyst on the project discusses the findings and the broader implications of progressive procurement.
For the past 13 years, CLES have been working with Manchester City Council to harness its procurement spend and maximise the economic, social and environmental benefit generated for its people, place and the planet.
Despite initial talk of a “bounce-back”, with Covid-19 we now face unprecedented economic and social crises. Economic recovery looks set to be a long and painful process, characterised by business failure, huge levels of unemployment and social hardship. In CLES’ policy provocation, Restoring public values: the role of public procurement, we explore the role for public values in public procurement in the light of Covid-19 and proposes a way forward that considers how the spending of public money can be harnessed to maximise its social value and deliver greater social, economic and environmental justice.
Whilst there is now talk of a UK national stimulus package, we must also redouble our efforts to ensure that every single pound of existing and new UK public money is used wisely and well. Public money should flow through our economy to maximise social value in the form of Jobs, opportunities for local enterprises, and advancing zero carbon objectives.
Since 2008, CLES have been working with Manchester City Council to harness its procurement spend and maximise the economic, social and environmental benefit generated for its people, place and the planet.
Our collaboration has helped build a more inclusive economy over the last decade. The early adoption of an ethical procurement policy, a unique social value weighting of 20% in the tender process and a focus on supplier engagement in areas of deprivation has put Manchester City Council at the forefront of progressive procurement practice.
“CLES is working with councils across the UK to build community wealth and create good local economies for all.”
Progressive procurement is one important part of community wealth building: a systems approach to economic development built on local roots. It aims to reorganise local economies to put control back in the hands of local people, with wealth being generated, circulated and held locally. CLES is working with councils across the UK to build community wealth and create good local economies for all.
In the last decade, Social Value has gone from unknown and untested to the flavour of the month. Here Jonty and Matthew reflect on Manchester’s early adoption of socially-minded procurement, its impact to date and its role going forward.
The idea that when local authorities buy goods and services they should ensure that the money given to suppliers produces good social, economic, and environmental outcomes might now seem like common sense, but ten years ago there was no Social Value Policy Act and very little activity around of this nature.
Last week the government launched a series of new initiatives around ‘Social Value’, a much vaunted policy agenda which started with the passage of the Social Value Act in 2012. Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington has announced that by summer 2019, government procurements will be required to take social and economic benefits into account in certain priority areas, as well as new transparency rules for those bidding for public contracts.
The government’s attempt to get businesses to consider their social impact can be understood as an acknowledgement that something has gone awry in the state of commissioning public services. The dramatic collapse of outsourcing giant Carillion in January 2018 has prompted a new wave of governmental thinking about how goods and services are purchased. With public opinion increasingly moving against poor provision of public services (most noticeably the much criticised railway system), this extension of the Social Value Act represents the government’s response.
Housing providers have a significant role to play in the functioning of the economies in which they are based and in addressing social issues. They achieve this through the delivery of activities which complement and supplement public services and contribute to a variety of outcomes including around employment, and health and well-being.
Like other place based anchor institutions, housing providers also have a key lever for economic, social and environmental change at their disposal in the form of procurement. All housing organisations will purchase goods, services and works and will have a process in place to design, procure and deliver these. However, the challenge with procurement historically is that it has often been overly bureaucratic, with price the primary decision-making criteria; and little opportunity to utilise procurement to address wider issues.
Manchester City Council is playing a ‘pioneering role’ in reinvesting spend back into the local economy with its progressive procurement policies, report says.