We are delighted to have been selected, alongside our strategic partner Perform Green, to evaluate social value practices with Croydon Council. Over the next four months, we will explore what social impacts have been achieved by Croydon Council (and the effort that has gone into various initiatives) since the launch of the Social Value Act in 2012.
Croydon Council is strongly committed to social value, being one of the first UK councils to have placed social value high on its political agenda. Such efforts have led the Council to create the internationally renowned Social Value toolkit for commissioners and receive numerous accolades including Social Enterprise UK’s “Social Value Leadership Award for an Organisation” in April 2017. Indeed, many of their successes can be attributed to the Council’s belief in continuous improvement. This evaluation provides the Council and their partners with an opportunity to pinpoint their successes and failures, and renew efforts.
Robert Woolf, Director of Made Open, said: “Achieving social value is at the heart of what we do and why we do it at Made Open. We will work closely with Croydon Council, their business and VCSE partners and a number of communities in Croydon to portray an accurate account of social value through the changes experienced by people. We look forward to this challenge and being a critical friend.”.
This review comes at an important time for Croydon Council. With communities and councils needing to be more unified than at anytime before, it’s vital that Croydon Council’s social value practices aren’t simply regarded as an exercise in commissioning public services. Achieving social value is about creating positive changes that people inside organisations and communities feel they can be a part of, contribute to and take the lead on. As Sarah Ireland, Director of Commissioning and Improvement at Croydon Council, explains: “This project will help us to capture and evaluate the social value that we have delivered to date, so we can use the good practice and learning as an organisation to make additional improvements, measure impacts and become a leading commissioner of Social Value. But not only that, this review also focuses on what more we could be doing to empower positive change in the borough, by listening to the local communities and businesses that work with the Council and understanding the things that they care most about”.
Bringing different experiences and skills to the table, Made Open will be supported by Perform Green with whom they share offices with in Bristol. Barney Smith, Director of Perform Green and interim CEO of Bristol is Open, comments: “Our partnership with Made Open is based on a principle that change will only occur if people and organisations in the community care enough about a problem or opportunity to act upon in. It’s terrific to see that Croydon Council have embedded social value into the core of their everyday business and we look forward to evaluating their impact so far.”
This evaluation research has already started and will be completed in October 2017. It is expected that the evaluation will lead to a renewed action plan and the commissioning of an online measurement tool.
Made Open were shortlisted and invited to tender for this project from a rosta of 16 suppliers to the CCIN. The Co-operative Councils Innovation Network is a national network of 22 local authorities committed to transforming the way they work with communities. Their work recognises the need to define a new model for local government built on civic leadership, with councils working in equal partnership with local people to shape and strengthen communities. www.councils.coop