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New guide to social value launched for businesses

Published on Friday, November 9, 2018

A NEW guide has been launched to help businesses think about how they could benefit local communities when they bid for Leicester City Council contracts.

The guide – called Delivering Social Value for Leicester – accompanies the city council’s Social Value Charter, which launched last year and helps to secure employment, environmental and community benefits for the city through contracts with businesses.

The charter requires the suppliers of goods and services to the council to ‘add social value’ to their contracts that will benefit local people.

It means businesses bidding for council contracts are encouraged to provide jobs and training for local people, or look at other ways they could add value to local communities.

Now the council is renewing its charter to focus more specifically on the social value Leicester really needs – for example, helping children in care and disadvantaged groups.

City mayor Peter Soulsby said: “The city council spends more than £360million annually on goods and services, using nearly 6,000 different suppliers. We want to make sure that Leicester gets the most out of this activity.

“We want the businesses we contract with to think about how they could support Leicester people – whether that’s through offering apprenticeships and training schemes to share their expertise with local people, or perhaps by giving their employees time to take part in volunteer projects that will benefit local communities.

“Together, we can work to continually improve our city and support the communities that live and work here.”

Businesses that have already added social value through their contracts with the council include construction company Sisk, which provided 12 work placements in trades such as bricklaying, electrics and civil engineering. Arcadis, which provides project management of construction projects for the council, has taken part in several social value programmes, including environmental education sessions for schools and staff volunteering to assist with meadow management at Welford Road cemetery.

The city council also works closely with other organisations and parts of the council to offer social value opportunities for businesses. Partners include Leicestershire Cares, which organises employee volunteering; CrowdFund Leicester, which promotes crowdfunding for community projects; Voluntary Action Leicester and Leicester Employment Hub.

Assistant city mayor Danny Myers, who leads on entrepreneurial councils, added: “We’re asking our contractors – or potential contractors – to work with these partners for the benefit of local people. For example, a business might link with Leicestershire Cares to volunteer at a centre for older people; or they might sponsor a training opportunity for a young person with mental health needs. It’s about businesses sharing their expertise, making a difference to the community and providing support for individuals or groups that really need it.

“It also means the council is committed to source goods and services locally, wherever possible, and to do business ethically. Of the £360million we currently spend, £225million – around 63 per cent – goes to businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire.”

Businesses that bid for council contracts will be given copies of the Social Value Charter, along with a guide suggesting ways in which they could get involved.

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