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Increasing social value through procurement and wider activity

Since the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act, the council has committed to make best use of its powers when considering how the goods, works and services we procure over the quotation threshold of £5k might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area.

Social value potential is considered at the preparation stage of procurement and where opportunities are apparent, the target measures and evaluation methodology approach are incorporated into the procurement documentation which is then monitored through contract management arrangements.

The integrated, systematic approach which is based on the National TOMs (Themes, Outcomes and Measures) Framework used by the council has led to several positive social value benefit outcomes to support residents, communities and businesses, such as employment for young people not in education, employment or training and the increased use of local sub-contractors.

Sunderland has also reviewed the TOMs framework to reflect wider types of social value in different sectors aligned to City Plan priorities and the five Neighbourhood Investment Plans, ensuring that all residents continue to benefit from investments in the city.

Through procurement activity undertaken during 2019-20, the council secured a total commitment of £78,279,842 Social Value community benefits.

Sunderland City Council is currently working with the National Social Value Task Force chaired by the Local Government Association and supported by Cabinet Office and Crown Commercial Services to consider how social value can be embedded into the planning process in order to unlock more value for our communities.

Sunderland City Council also continues to:

  • Review procurement processes specifically in relation to requirements to engage with SMEs locally
  • Review all council services to ensure community wealth building aspirations are embedded within procurement activity and considered through Cabinet decision-making
  • Consider future commissioning requirements to inform the potential to develop supply chains of local enterprises to respond
  • Consider social value for all procurements over £5k
  • Identify opportunities to increase social value wider than procurement, for example, planning conditions, affordable workspace, space for local workers and residents in major economic developments
  • As a Fair Tax Council we have joined calls for the UK Government to give greater powers to local councils so we can better address bad tax conduct and reward good tax conduct through procurement. In the meantime, we are doing what we can to encourage fair tax practices including writing to suppliers about gaining the Fair Tax Mark

Case studies

Strategic Transport Corridor Phase 3

City Hall

Sunderland Integrated Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Harm Minimisation Service

The Real Living Wage

Security guards and key holding services

Fair Tax Council

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