The 'Best City Ambition': Vision for Leeds
The ‘Best City Ambition’ is Leeds City Council‘s overarching strategy for the city’s future, with our dedication to combating poverty and inequality at its heart, aiming to enhance the quality of life for all Leeds residents.
This initiative encourages widespread collaboration across Leeds, recognising the significance of every contribution towards our goal of making Leeds the best city in the UK. Our strategy gives priority to:
- Health and wellbeing
- Inclusive growth
- Climate responsibility through zero carbon initiatives
At the core of this ambition is the optimisation of our approach to social value (SV).
Implementing the Social Value Engine
In 2022, our council, along with five others, engaged with the Social Value Engine (SVE). This decision was heavily influenced by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC)’s involvement since 2013 and the SVE’s accreditation by Social Value International. These factors combined led to our transition from a previous supplier to the SVE, effective from April 2023.
This move was financially sensible, allowing for the expansion of our SV team, and strategic, leveraging SVE’s established expertise. The SVE team played a crucial role in swiftly training our expanded team, ensuring a smooth transition.
Advantages of the new approach to social value
The major benefits we are experiencing are:
- Control: We noticed a discrepancy between the expected and actual social impacts of our activities. SVE’s hands-on methodology and tools, including a comprehensive dashboard, have enabled us to take firmer control of our social value outcomes.
- Transparency: Our collaboration with SVE has ensured clarity in financial dealings, with costs being transparent and borne solely by the council, unrelated to contract values. Moreover, the traceability of valuations substantiates the credibility of our social return on investment (SROI) reports.
- Scalability: We acknowledged that delivering social value is a responsibility extending beyond the procurement department, involving various council sectors and local VCSEs and SMEs. SVE’s heritage and adaptable model accommodate this wider engagement, promoting a more collaborative, multi-sector economy in Leeds.
We are confident that these strategic enhancements, in line with our ‘Best City Ambition,’ will significantly expedite our journey towards making Leeds a model city in the UK.
Sasha Walton, Social Value Delivery Manager, Leeds City Council