Social value policy

Council celebrates success of social value approach to procurement

Almost two years after launching, Barking and Dagenham Council’s social value policy is proving public and private sectors can work together to benefit communities.

The scheme, which applies to all procurement contracts over £100,000, requires potential contractors to commit to delivering wider benefits for the borough and its residents.

This can include a range of economic, social and environmental initiatives, such as support and training for people who are unemployed, providing apprenticeships and work placements, delivering careers advice in schools, donating money to help local projects, or providing shared office space for voluntary and community groups.

Over the last year, the council has secured equipment such as laptops for schools, mud kitchens and bird boxes, training workshops and mentoring schemes, and over £20,000 to improve green spaces with trees and benches.

Each year the council spends on average around £400million purchasing vital goods and services including building new homes, schools and providing other infrastructure.

Councillor Sade Bright, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills & Aspiration, said: “As the largest employer in our borough, it is crucial that everything we do has a benefit for the people of Barking and Dagenham.

“There are some fantastic examples of social value already underway, which clearly demonstrates that public and private sectors can work together for the greater good, and we want to continue building on the success we’ve achieved.

“When it comes to councils awarding contracts, all too often it is just about the cost. Our social value approach here is about looking at the bigger picture and better outcomes. Our borough manifesto promises that no-one is left behind and we remain committed to that.”

The council is also looking at implementing changes to the policy that will see smaller contractors – those under £100,000 – be delivered using local businesses and requiring organisations to pay the London Living Wage to all staff who work directly on council initiatives.