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Social Value Charter to be introduced in Leicester

Published on Monday, March 6, 2017

LEICESTER City Council is set to introduce a new Social Value Charter to secure employment, environmental and community benefits for the city through its contracts with businesses.

The council spends around £350million on contracts with businesses every year. The new charter will require suppliers of goods and services to ‘add social value’ to their contracts to benefit Leicester people.

This means that businesses bidding for council contracts will be encouraged to provide jobs and training for local people.

For example, they might be asked to show how they would take on local apprentices for a construction project, helping to increase employment and career opportunities for local people.

The charter also promotes added social value in other ways, for example by requiring suppliers to achieve higher environmental standards – such as the use of less polluting vehicles  – or supporting local community groups with their projects.

It commits the council to source locally, where possible, and to do business ethically.

The charter also includes greater use of the planning system to secure benefits through new development. And it builds in environmental, employment and community requirements for businesses to meet when the council offers grants to business.

Cllr Sue Waddington, assistant city mayor for jobs and skills, said: “It is important that we secure as much benefit as possible for local people from the millions of pounds we spend on contracts with business each year.

“What this charter will allow us to do is to build certain conditions into contracts, grants and the planning process so that we favour projects which bring added social value to the city. This could be in the form of jobs, environmental or other social benefits that help us to increase the social wellbeing of people in Leicester.

“For example, when we built the Dock business space in Abbey Meadows, the contractors, Willmott Dixon, employed apprentices from the local area. This is the sort of thing the charter will allow us to encourage more.”

The charter will be considered by the council’s economic development, tourism and transport scrutiny commission on 14 March before going to the council’s executive. The intention is to put this into practice later this year.