Public sector partners from across Torbay have committed to a new approach of working together to support local economic growth.
The Community Wealth Building approach focuses on growing spend and supporting local businesses to bid for local public sector contracts.
Torbay Council has committed to using its financial powers more effectively to help benefit the local economy and create new employment and training opportunities for people through its regeneration projects.
The new approach looks to maximise the local public sectors economic powers to work with businesses to build a stronger, more inclusive, and sustainable economy which works for everyone by supporting good quality jobs with good pay for local people, encourages local spending with Torbay businesses, supports small businesses and social enterprises to grow, and increases investment within the local economy by harnessing and recirculating local wealth.
The CWB Memorandum of Understanding brings together public sector partners from across Torbay and secures their commitment to collaborate and adopt the principles of CWB.
Torbay Council, Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust, South Devon College and TDA have pledged to spend more with local companies where possible.
Councillor Swithin Long, chair of Torbay’s CWB Board and Cabinet member for economic regeneration, tourism and housing, said: “Community Wealth Building forms a cornerstone of our Economic Repositioning Plan to support our economic recovery.
“This model uses a common sense approach to economics and will support long-term sustainable growth in Torbay. We need an economy that works for the community, local people, local businesses, and our planet.
“The CWB MoU sends a clear commitment that public sector partners across Torbay will use their powers more effectively and work to support the local economy.”
Councillor Darren Cowell, deputy leader of Torbay Council and Cabinet member for finance, said: “This is a significant milestone in Torbay’s adoption of CWB.
“This MoU sets out how the local public sector will work collaboratively and use their powers to bring about positive change and maximise economic opportunities by spending and sourcing more locally.
“Not only will a CWB approach help boost the local economy but it will also help reduce carbon emissions and support our commitment to tackling climate change, and help Torbay’s residents and businesses to thrive.”
Adel Jones, director of transformation and partnerships at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: ”Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust board welcomes this partnership to improve opportunities for local people.
“As well as employing over 6,500 people locally, the trust is embarking on the exciting redevelopment of the hospital, which will generate significant investment for Torbay and South Devon.
“As well as delivering improved care and treatments, we aim to maximise the benefits which this investment will generate within our local economy, creating more job opportunities for local people and greater economic prosperity.”
Laurence Frewin, principal and CEO at South Devon College, said: “We support over 10,000 students every year at South Devon College and want to provide them with the best skills and opportunities for future employment.
“As well as providing them with the skills required for the workplace we can also buy more from local businesses and support them to grow and expand and create new local job opportunities which our students can also benefit from.”
Steve Parrock, Chief Executive at TDA, said: “As Torbay Council’s wholly owned economic development company, we are responsible for delivering economic regeneration across Torbay and working with the local business community.
“Torbay Council has a significant programme of investment planned over the next five years.
“We want to work with our local SMEs to engage them in contracts and support their growth and create a strong and thriving local economy which offers opportunities for all.”
Over the last 12 months, the Torbay CWB Board which includes Torbay Council, Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust, South Devon College, TDA, Torbay Community Development Trust and Local Spark: Torbay Community Supported Enterprise have worked to deliver positive change across Torbay.
In June, Torbay Council published their new Social Value Policy which will maximise the opportunity social value has to contribute to the delivery of the council Community and Corporate Plan and Community Wealth Building approach.
The new policy puts greater emphasis on the social, economic, and environmental benefits which new council contracts can also offer.
Furthermore, Torbay Council has piloted the Supply Devon portal for all spend between £5,000 and £50,000 to make smaller contracts more accessible for local SMEs.
Over the past nine months, more than 270 Torbay businesses have registered on the portal, and over 109 contracts have been advertised.
Employment and Skills Plans have been agreed for new regeneration projects which help create new local jobs and training opportunities within the construction sector.
To date 13 new jobs have been created, 52 construction careers information, advice and guidance events have taken place, and over 456 weeks of training have been delivered for apprentices.
Torbay Social Enterprise Grant – Torbay Council has invested £40,000 in the Torbay Social Enterprise Grant to support the growth of the local social enterprise sector and the creation of new business models which enable employee ownership and provide a greater benefit to communities.
Torbay Council has approved an investment of £25,000 into South West Mutual Bank and £10,000 into supporting existing Credit Unions working in Torbay to help tackle financial poverty and provide fair access to affordable finance for local people.
Torbay Supplier Engagement Conference – Torbay’s first supplier engagement conference took place in December 2021, with 60 businesses attending the virtual event. It provided the chance to meet with local public sector procurement leads and understand more about upcoming contract opportunities and how to access them.
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