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  • 5 minutes
  • 09/08/2017

One Manchester: Social investment in housing

Social value sits at the heart of what One Manchester does and helps to differentiate it as much more than a housing and community services provider; with social investment as one of its key drivers.

Social value sits at the heart of what One Manchester does and helps to differentiate it as much more than a housing and community services provider; with social investment as one of its key drivers.  

One Manchester has successfully incorporated social value into its procurement both strategically and operationally. While capturing a commitment to deliver social value is key to the tendering process, it is not always efficiently delivered post contract award. For this reason, One Manchester has adopted a range of measures within its approach to procurement to ensure the tangible delivery of local social value outputs and outcomes, which go beyond simple tender responses.


One Manchester appointed a Social Value Lead in 2016, tasked with leading and overseeing how the provider embedded social value into its procurement. Whilst the organisation had formally agreed at board level to heavily commit to social value through procurement, specifically through weighting social value at 20% in all tenders, success on the ground had been mixed.  

Internally, social value was inconsistently applied across the business, and externally, social value was being delivered with mixed buy in and success through suppliers.  

To address this inconsistent delivery, and to ensure social value is at the heart of procurement, One Manchester took a structured approach, incorporating the following elements: 

An organisational wide social value policy

Providing a consistent and clear understanding of what social value meant to the organisation and the themes that One Manchester wished to address enabled the company to make tangible requests to all suppliers and challenge them on what they will provide on the issues that matter most. 

The provider also combined two crucial documents – the Group Procurement guide, and the Social Value Guidance Document. This resulted in social value becoming a central part of the procurement process, rather than just an addition.  

Adopting a local focus

As an arbiter of place and people, One Manchester adopted a hyper local focus on the embedding of social value into procurement. Typically, bidders are asked what they currently deliver in terms of social value, as well as what specific local impact they will deliver as the result of contract award. This ensures an additional local impact is generated as well as reflecting existing good practice. 

Forge links between the procurement process and tangible impact

To maximise social value through procurement, One Manchester supports bidders to achieve pledges. By linking bidders into internal skills at One Manchester, providing recruitment support or identifying key community groups and projects to reduce duplication of effort, the housing provider can maximise the level of social value from successful tenders.  

Creating a social value toolkit

One Manchester developed a social value toolkit for suppliers to provide clear, consistent  messaging around why social value is important, what themes matter, and importantly, what help is available to them to deliver social value on the ground after contract award. This approach has been adopted by the Greater Manchester Housing Providers partnership, increasing the collective influence we have across Greater Manchester.  

Proactive contract management

To ensure continual social benefits are delivered, One Manchester adopted an active process for contract management. This involves initial contract strategy meetings, where tender responses are reviewed and turned into tangible outputs. Throughout the contract length, social value is actively reviewed and supportive management is maintained, incorporating a flexible and iterative approach to social value.

The outcomes of the project:

Donation of money or goods to community organisations or projects worth £43,232.29, including: 

  • £28,732.29 worth of community investment including roofing repairs; shower and toilet block replacement to Cornerstone Centre
  • Set up of a community impact fund by building materials suppliers. One beneficiary for this was provision of padlocks for Bike Hive project
  • £500 donated to the Peter Quinn Friendship Foundation; a Levenshulme based charity supporting Dementia suffers and their carers
  • Rolling donation of £50 per month to community grocer initiative and 1% rebate of the annual contract value as a direct financial contribution
  • Donating art equipment and stationery to One Manchester’s Homework and Craft clubs

Provision of pro-bono services to community organisations projects worth £17,855 and 600 hours including: 

  • Provision of pro-bono support to Moss Side Caribbean Carnival for scaffolding
  • Donation to Moss Side Boxing Club through purchase of table for 10 at annual dinner and donating back to the community
  • Range of works carried out at the Bike Hive project in Alexandra Park for storage and security
  • Pro-bono work to support Heroes Wood Project in Debdale Park by constructing 50 + tree guards over four day period
  • Provided an electrician, joiner and materials for Hulme Community Garden Centre
  • Community day at the Aquarius Centre covering general repairs to Kitchen units and drawers and general tidy up and jet wash to external area (Wates)
  • Contribution indigenous flower seeds for community gardens
  • Environmental measures including contract clauses stipulating 100% materials recycled

Contributions to create a stronger more resilient local economy, including: 

  • Work placements: 29 started or completed with a further 22 pledged
  • Apprenticeships: 16 created or safeguarded with a further nine pledged
  • CSCS Training delivered/committed for circa 60 local candidates to enable them to work on site
  • Five contracts which achieved 60% orders placed and project workforce within Greater Manchester postcodes
  • Provision of 65 Winter Warmer packs to the One Money team, for the those struggling to pay their winter fuel bills
  • Supporting four social enterprises included as part of the project supply chain

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