Croydon has received a top national award for leading the way on promoting how public spending and private investment can deliver a wide range of benefits to local people.
Social Enterprise UK and the Department for Culture Media & Sport awarded Croydon recognition for the way the council has demonstrated strong organisational leadership in promoting real gains in terms of ‘social value’.
Social value is the concept that the council uses its purchasing power and business activity to boost the economy and improve both the lives of local people and the surrounding environment. The authority’s ‘Value Croydon’ programme encourages its contractors and business partners to meet local priorities, such as the creation of local employment opportunities and the development of a local supply chain.
This has been firmly demonstrated by Croydon Council becoming a London living wage borough and becoming London’s first borough to obtain ‘social enterprise place‘ status. The council is also promoting a good employer charter and is creating employment for local people by linking its contractors with Croydon Works, the council’s job brokerage service.
Croydon Works has nearly 700 registered job seekers, and has provided training, interviews and jobs for almost 250 of these.
The good employer charter encourages firms in Croydon to follow the council’s example and do as much as possible to pay the London living wage, recruit and buy locally, and promote equality and diversity in the workplace.
The council is also using its influence to help match local businesses up with contract opportunities, meaning they benefit directly from the increased investment currently coming into the area.
“It’s fantastic to receive this award – it really demonstrates how Croydon’s successes are paying dividends in terms of boosting local jobs, increasing local skills, bringing the London Living Wage into contracts, encouraging volunteering, and getting young people out of long-term unemployment.
“There is a legal duty for all councils to recognise and promote social value, but Croydon has really gone the extra mile to ensure it is at the heart of all our contracts and purchasing decisions.”
Councillor Simon Hall, cabinet member for finance and treasury
Social Enterprise UK’s CEO, Peter Holbrook said: “The Social Value Awards recognise those organisations and individuals who are leading the way in delivering social value through commissioning and procurement. It’s encouraging to see more and more public bodies and businesses making the most of the opportunities social value provides. Social value has a vital role to play in building a more inclusive economy and the winners have all shown how organisations can use their spending and commissioning power to transform communities and change lives. Congratulations.”