Contracts 'not just about money but community as well'

Torbay Weekly

The awarding of contracts won't just be about money -  what benefits they can  bring to the community as a whole will also have a bearing, councillors have decided.

Members of Torbay Council’s Cabinet have approved a new Social Value Procurement Policy that will provide additional local social and economic benefits.

In a report to the cabinet meeting members were asked to approve the policy that will maximise the opportunity Social Value has to contribute to the delivery of the council's Community and Corporate plan and Community Wealth Building approach.

The policy will set a requirement that a minimum of 10 per cent of the overall evaluation score is allocated to all procurements over the value of £50,000.

Social Value asks the question: ‘If £1 is spent on the delivery of services, can that same £1 be used to also produce a wider benefit to the community?’. This involves looking beyond the price of each individual contract and looking also at the collective benefit to the community.

For example, in a contract for building works, bidders might be asked to show how they would promote ‘local skills and employment’ and as part of their bid make a commitment to recruiting at least 10 per cent of new workers in the next 12-months from people who have been in long term unemployment.

In 2019, Torbay Council spent approximately £57 million via its procurement activity. With a planned regeneration programme of an estimated £676 million in the pipeline, Social value will play a huge role throughout the construction process.

Under the proposals, each contractor will be required to support, employ, and train local people directly within the construction trade and wider supply chain.

Cllr Darren Cowell, deputy council leader and cabinet member for finance, said; “As a Co-operative Council we are committed to the implementation and enhancement of the Innovation Network principles. This includes the principle of maximising Social Value and working to ensure there are better tools to provide better local social and economic outcomes for Torbay and our network partners.”

Cllr Swithin Long, cabinet member of Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “As a council we want to put Social Value at the heart of what we do to ensure that Torbay and its residents thrive."