How tenants help design social value at Waltham Forest Council

2 July 2019

Including social value as part of public procurement contracts can extend further than offering apprenticeships and local employment opportunities.

Delegates at the Public Sector Solutions Expo were told to consider approaching social value in an innovative way by working with the local community and suppliers that truly understand local issues. 

David Levy, head of supply chain at Waltham Forest Council, discussed how the council had worked with tenants on including social value offerings in housing repair and maintenance projects.

“The approach was to encourage tenants in housing blocks to actually be part of the design of social value and tell us what they thought the community would benefit from, and they came up with a range of ideas.”

While social value often involves building in employment opportunities and apprenticeships for the local community, tenants in Waltham Forest asked for targets to be built into the contract on employment for veterans and care leavers. 

“Suppliers really responded well to the project because they were the people on the ground delivering and there were some really good responses from the market,” Levy said. 

Terry Brewer, executive consultant at Social Value Portal, said working with local suppliers who have a solid understanding of the issues faced by local communities can also lead to social value being implemented in innovative ways. 

“We had a contractor that won a particular tender and part of their social value offering was to give a local school new uniforms. We didn't ask for it but they were local, they knew the school was struggling with money and so they helped out. It's a great example where a contractor really knows what's needed in the local community.”

Brewer said communication is key when it comes to delivering social value so it’s important to work with suppliers from the beginning. 

“If you speak to the main contractors, they're really keen to offer social value and to an extent they've built it into their budgets already, so if you're not asking for it you're just missing out,” he said.

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