Across Greater Manchester, public sector budgets are being cut, government responsibilities devolved, health problems associated with stress and poor mental wellbeing are on the increase, poverty affects a huge number of our citizens and our local environment is under pressure from the demands of modern urban life.
Driven by this context of poverty, poor health and inequality, Salford’s Social Value Alliance emerged from a cross-sector group of activists and organisations across the city. All seeking to use social value to make a real difference for Salford and its residents.
You can find out more about the Alliance on its website, which includes a toolkit, case studies and other information. The Alliance meets up regularly to discuss relevant topics.
Salford had the right growing conditions for embracing social value; including a strong Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise sector, interest in social value from across a number of partners and early awareness before the Social Value Act 2012. Salford was also lucky to be selected for the Social Enterprise UK – Health and Social Value Programme and received facilitation and support with bringing a cross sector group of partners together.
Right from the beginning, the Social Value Alliance wanted to go beyond the confines of the Social Value Act and three-pronged approach was adopted, seeking to:
• EMBED SOCIAL VALUE: Adapt policies and governance arrangements to emphasise the role social value could play
• DELIVER SOCIAL VALUE: Implement social value through strategic relationships, commissioning, procurement and service delivery
• DEMONSTRATE SOCIAL VALUE: Evidence how and when social value has been delivered and the impact that this has made.
In 2014, the Alliance launched it’s Social in Salford Pledge, with 28 organisations being involved, all signing up in a huge public show of support for social value in Salford. A ‘social movement’ was started.
Some example pledges:
• Social adVentures, a local social enterprise delivering health and care services pledged to ‘deliver social value through greater stakeholder dialogue to discover, dream, design and deliver an improved service to inspire more Salfordians to live healthier and happier lives.’
• Salford Royal Foundation Trust pledged to ‘deliver social value through our Public Health and Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy ‘Live Well, Work Well’.
• Salford Community Leisure pledged to ‘reduce our carbon emissions through reducing the amount of miles travelled through work related activity, reduce our carbon footprint though solar panels and LED light fittings and have prioritised the use of local suppliers’.
Following this initial success, a decision was taken to focus effort on raising awareness of social value and getting more people involved in practical action. The 10% Better Campaign was launched by the Alliance in November 2017, and is all about people changing their behaviour. Aiming to reach as many people as possible across Salford – from volunteers in small voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to the CEOs of multi-national businesses with branches in Salford – this campaign is driving people-led social change over a three-year period using social value as a way to achieve that change.
The campaign’s aim is to use social value to make a 10 per cent improvement by 2021 across 11 social, environmental and economic outcomes, for the benefit of Salford and the people who live here.
Maximising the local benefit from money invested in Salford will involve commitment from the many private sector businesses, public sector organisations, as well as voluntary and community groups and social enterprises. It will require embedding a social value approach into every organisation no matter what its size or sector.
The outcomes chosen to focus on have been taken from existing plans and strategies from across the city, as well as nationally recognised measures of social value which are known to increase local benefit. These are:
• For People: Building Community Spirit (increased community strength and resilience)
• For the Planet: improve environmental sustainability (improved impact of the local environment on people’s wellbeing)
• For Prosperity: increase local economic benefit (increased number of quality employment opportunities and reduced poverty for local citizens)
By May 2018, the Alliance already has over 50 pledges from organisations working in Salford. The Social Value Act is not just another piece of legislation to comply with – it’s a huge opportunity for change and improvement!