Liverpool City Council is set to make significant changes to the way it designs projects and contracts for suppliers so they deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for residents.
It could mean support or training being provided for the long-term unemployed, businesses giving careers advice in schools, sharing building space with community groups, donating time or money to local community schemes or improving green spaces.
It forms part of Mayor Joanne Anderson’s triple lock – putting people, planet and equality at the heart of every decision.
The council is starting conversations with potential suppliers and sectors to explain how it will work and the type of measures it will look for, and will invite feedback to inform improvements. The new approach to social value in procurement will be phased in gradually across the council, so that processes and guidance can be refined before wider roll out.
It is a key strand of the council’s Strategic Improvement Plan, following recommendations made in the Best Value Inspection.
Examples of current success that the council wants to replicate include hiring the long-term unemployed as apprentices, and engagement activity with schools and residents for the remediation of Festival Gardens.
There will be a new requirement for larger contracts to give a social value weighting when they are assessed, and encouraging smaller, more diverse suppliers to work with the council.
The policy sets out how social value will not be limited to procurement, but will also influence broader activities – such as the design and delivery of services, use of the council’s buildings and land, and how grant funding is targeted and awarded.
A report outlining the changes will be considered by the Cabinet today, Friday 18 February.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said, “Every year the council spends approximately £600 million on the delivery of vital goods, services and works – and we need to strengthen our approach to social value.
“There are already some fantastic examples but we know it is not embedded consistently across all departments.
“Too often there is a focus on the cost of a contract rather than the wider benefits it brings for residents, such as helping create a safe and clean community and giving residents access to a good quality job.
“This is about making every pound we spend go further and recycling the gains through communities across Liverpool, and working with our contractors to help them deliver on their corporate responsibility, building wealth and assets within our communities.
“It is a key part of our commitment to help build on the existing social capital, assets and resources within neighbourhoods, creating opportunities for disadvantaged communities and promotion of health and wellbeing.
“This is an ambitious policy and will take time to fully integrate across the organisation, but the benefits for the city will be transformative.”