Manchester City Council

Manchester City Council

Embedded Social Value at Manchester City Council

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

I am nominating this team to celebrate over 10 years of pushing the boundaries on sustainable procurement, social value through our supply chain and ethical procurement. As a result the Council is at the forefront of progressive procurement practice with many authorities and other organisations watching and learning from the Manchester way and looking to follow Manchester’s lead.

In the spirit of the Our Manchester Strategy, team members have been actively innovating within procurement processes to ensure that every £1 spent benefits citizens of Manchester beyond the actual direct delivery of the contract.

The objectives of our Social Value Policy are:
– Promote employment and economic sustainability
– Raise the living standards of all residents
– Promote participation and citizen engagement
– Build capacity and sustainability of the voluntary and community sector
– Promote equity and fairness
– Promote environmental sustainability

What are the key achievements?

Working with other teams notably Work and Skills, Legal and elected members they have raised the profile of Social Value, pushed / cajoled and encouraged suppliers to innovate and help communities and as a result created real jobs, apprenticeships and opportunities for the people of Manchester. In 2008/9 51.5% of procurement spend was in Manchester, in 2015/16 that figure stood at 73.6%. Meanwhile, the amount re-spent within Manchester by suppliers has increased from 25p in the £1 in 2008/09, to 43p in the £1 in 2015/16. (Based on over £400million of our annual procurement spend with suppliers). In recent years, the council has increased its spend with SMEs by 20% – to 62%. Some 1,302 jobs and 665 apprenticeships have been created by suppliers alone.
64% of our suppliers now actively provide support to the voluntary and community sector, and the council is now using these examples to promote good practice to suppliers supporting other priority groups, including:

– Looked after children and care leaverS.
– Helping long-term unemployed people with an underlying health condition and/or complex needs.
– Supporting disabled people.
– Helping older people, specifically adults over 50 who are economically inactive and/or in poor health
– Supporting vulnerable adults overcoming a crisis.

We have been measuring social value foe many years and have a wide range of indicators of social value outcomes which can be shared to support this submission. The work has been promoted through an annual event attended by Councilors, Local Authorities, Businesses, Charities, Housing Associations, Government, NHS and Voluntary Sector organisations. The event entitled ‘Procurement as a tool to enable growth and tackle poverty’. A publication ‘The Power of Procurement II The Policy and Practice of Manchester City Council – 10 years on’ was produced to support one of the events and reflects on and celebrates the ten years of Manchester’s progressive procurement.

A Social Value Tool Kit was produced by the team and has been widely promoted for use by suppliers when tendering for Council Contracts. It sets out the Council’s social value priorities and contains case studies to develop suppliers understanding and ultimately delivery of Social Value. A social value toolkit for commissioners was also developed to support our internal stakeholders to ensure that social value is embedded in everything that we do. The Councils Ethical Procurement Policy was also written during this period which sets out the behaviours that we expect of our suppliers on issues like employment, trade union recognition and modern slavery to name but a few.

There has been a concerted effort by the team to push the boundaries and promote Social Value in all of it’s activity. There have been challenges by suppliers, stakeholders and others but they have stuck to their guns and achieved great results recognised nationally (and internationally). This has resulted in us working collaboratively with organisations from up and down the land and beyond to learn from others and share good practice with others setting out on their social value journey. We are currently resetting Social Value in response to COVID19 to focus on the communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We have had staff supporting the PPE effort from early in the pandemic and have recently worked at short notice to ensure food vouchers are allocated in time for the coming holiday periods.

What are the key learning points?

It wasn’t easy and senior sponsorship within the organisation has been crucial. It’s more than issuing a policy and we have done much to promote this within the Council to make it part of the culture of the organisation. Support and challenge from Members has been important and this has really helped to push the agenda along, particularly since 2015 when a sub group of the Resources and Governance Committee. In addition, we learned a lot from taking to our existing suppliers who offered innovative ideas to meet social value objectives. Their impact in communities can be focused to where the benefit is needed most. Since 2016 social value has been weighted as part of tender decision, currently at 20%, potential suppliers are required to demonstrate how they will deliver against the priorities. Initially set at 10% we increased it to 20% to encourage suppliers to think more seriously about social value with more weighting that could swing marginal decisions in favour of the best social value offer. We are currently considering an additional 10% weighting for environmental considerations. Procurement rules shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to delivering social value as there is provision within them to include social considerations.

Additional Comments

We have a committed team of people within the Council working hard to derive the benefits of our procurement spend for local communities. We have become a Real Living Wage organisation working with our supply chain to promote the living wage. We have signed a number of Covenants including the Care Leavers Covenant and the Armed Forces Covenant and we link up these groups with social value offers e.g. Barclays support young people leaving care through their social value initiatives.