Service Transformation

14.12.17

Driving inclusive growth in the West Midlands

PSE’s Josh Mines reports from the Social Value Conference 2017, where mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street explained how social value is benefitting his region.

One of the values behind the combined authorities that have been set up over the last two years lies in driving equal and diverse growth throughout the UK’s city regions. This is particularly clear in areas like the West Midlands, as Andy Street, the region’s metro mayor, explained during his keynote speech at the 2017 Social Value Conference set in the heart of Birmingham.

“The issue that we are trying to tackle is in promoting local skills and employment,” he stated. “This is an acute issue. We have some of the most successful economies in the country, in Solihull for example.

“But then, a few short miles down the road, we have some wards which have some of the highest rates of unemployment in the UK. Absolutely, we have huge success, but also huge deprivation, so we have to try and balance and share that growth more effectively.”

For many politicians, this inclusive growth can be driven particularly through adherence to social value policies. Using guidance set out in the Social Value Act 2013, authorities pledged to look at how additional value can be easily gained by going about procurement with the right organisations, in the right way.

For Street, the future success of the whole region hinges on using social value to distribute wealth and economic success fairly.

“The country is always talking about the productivity challenge and we are at the heart of that,” he explained. “It’s all been about getting behind the high-growth and high-value sectors where technology has been applied to drive out that productivity.

“But how do we use that advantage to share our success and generate a society we are genuinely proud of?”

Devolution in particular has eased this process in some areas. The West Midlands is at the forefront of this, having received more than £1bn in investment from its first deal and with a second just around the corner, as announced by Philip Hammond in the Autumn Budget.

And for Street, using social value to create more job opportunities for people in the region is essential.

“We want to make sure the people in disadvantaged communities have the skills and are given the opportunity in our procurement outcomes,” the mayor continued. “We obviously have a vibrant economy helped by some of the biggest blue chip companies. But the real spine of the economy is the SME community.

“A huge issue lies in what proportion of your contracts are going to SMEs. They are the mechanism through the Social Value Act that we can actually use; using this procurement power, particularly around using the volunteering time for the development of local communities.”

One example of this is how the West Midlands Combined Authority has ensured that young people are given opportunities through one of its largest contracts – the £75m upgrade work to the region’s tram network. “From the back of that contract, we want to achieve roughly 200 apprentices coming into the organisation that runs the trams,” Street stated.

Economic and industrial growth are essential for city regions, but making sure this growth benefits those most in need is absolutely essential. Social value is the driving force behind inclusion, but clearly should also be seen as a quick win that is simple to implement and can yield great results if embedded into an authority’s procurement process early on.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
W: wmca.org.uk

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Benefits of blockchain

23/07/2018Benefits of blockchain

Jonny Voon, innovation lead for Internet of Things & distributed ledger at Innovate UK, talks us through the many benefits of blockchain tech... more >
Industrial strategies: taking back control

23/07/2018Industrial strategies: taking back control

The ‘place-based’ focus of the Industrial Strategy will be a significant step towards growing local economies alongside LEPs, writes ... more >
Keeping it simple

23/07/2018Keeping it simple

Jason Waterman, deputy director of disputes & policy implementation at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), describes the benefits of the stre... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
  • 23/07/2018Benefits of blockchain

    Jonny Voon, innovation lead for Internet of Things & distributed ledger at Innovate UK, talks us through the many benefits of blockchain technology and its potential to disrupt almost every i...
  • 23/07/2018Industrial strategies: taking back control

    The ‘place-based’ focus of the Industrial Strategy will be a significant step towards growing local economies alongside LEPs, writes Cllr Philip Atkins, County Councils Network (CCN) ...
View all News

the raven's daily blog

One step closer to voter IDs at elections

19/07/2018One step closer to voter IDs at elections

Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution, evaluates the outcomes of the voter ID pilots conducted at the last local elections. We are one step closer to strengthening the integrity of our electoral system through requiring electors to confirm their identity before they vote, building on the government’s commitment to safeguard ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

Benefits of blockchain

23/07/2018Benefits of blockchain

Jonny Voon, innovation lead for Internet of Things & distributed ledger at Innovate UK, talks us through the many benefits of blockchain tech... more >
Industrial strategies: taking back control

23/07/2018Industrial strategies: taking back control

The ‘place-based’ focus of the Industrial Strategy will be a significant step towards growing local economies alongside LEPs, writes ... more >
Keeping it simple

23/07/2018Keeping it simple

Jason Waterman, deputy director of disputes & policy implementation at the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), describes the benefits of the stre... more >
Mind the skills gap

23/07/2018Mind the skills gap

Kathleen Henehan, research and policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, examines the intergenerational and international skills gap faced by ... more >

interviews

Data at the heart of digital transformation

03/04/2018Data at the heart of digital transformation

SPONSORED INTERVIEW Grant Caley, UK & Ireland chief technologist at NetApp, speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the benefits of movin... more >
GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

03/04/2018GDPR: The public sector scarecrow

SPONSORED INTERVIEW PSE’s Josh Mines chats to Martin de Martini, CIO of Y Soft, about what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)... more >
Keeping London safe

05/03/2018Keeping London safe

Theo Blackwell, London’s first-ever chief digital officer (CDO), speaks to PSE’s Luana Salles about the role he plays in ensuring the... more >
BIM: Digitising the public sector

19/02/2018BIM: Digitising the public sector

PSE’s Josh Mines talks to Stephen Crompton, CTO at GroupBC, and Stuart Bell, the company’s sales and marketing director, about how Bu... more >

public sector focus

View all News