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  • 3 minutes
  • 10/08/2021

Incorporating social value into the planning process

Social Value Portal has released a new guidance document on incorporating social value into planning called 'Embedding social value into planning'.

We have released new guidance on incorporating social value into the planning process.

An estimated £30bn of social value remains unutilised. The reason for this is planning authorities and developers failing to grasp the opportunity of providing the best social value during the planning process. Unlike the the perspective on getting the best price.

The Social Value Act 2012 has recently been reinforced by Procurement Policy Note PPN06/20 and the Construction Playbook. The act calls for all public sector commissioning to factor in economic, social and environmental well-being in public service contracts. Furthermore, to assess the delivery of these works on completion of the project. 

Incorporating social value into planning

Embedding Social Value into Planning’  is the result of a collaboration across the planning, development, and design communities. This collaboration is known as the ‘Social Value Planning Taskforce’. The taskforce was set up in November 2020 as a working group of the National Social Value Taskforce. Its mission was to find a way to embed social value into the planning process. Therefore, delivering better places to live and work. And to build trust in local planning and development.

Furthermore, the briefing paper outlines how developers and local authorities can effectively incorporate social value initiatives as part of a planning application. 

“Whilst social value within procurement is widely recognised and enforced, it is not so clearly accounted for in a planning application. The end result is that communities are deprived of additional social benefits that would otherwise be available if developers were asked to consider the wider contribution a development can bring to society.” Guy Battle, CEO, Social Value Portal

What does the guidance include?

The briefing paper provides guidance for councils and planners on how to build social value into planning policy and the Local Plan. There is also guidance for developers on how to use the National Planning Policy Framework. This includes guidance on how to submit a Social Value Statement and to ensure it is taken into account as part of the planning submission. Additionally, social value opportunities highlighted include:

  • Investment in community groups and volunteer schemes
  • Local job creation
  • Waste recycling

Also included are a variety of case study examples of best practice. Such as:

  1. The cabinet approved Social Value Policy developed by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC)
  2. A Community engagement programme in London’s Tower Hamlets
  3. Innovations such as The Community App developed by Bradford based YEME Architects.  

Guy Battle continues:

“The Taskforce is in agreement that the best way to embed social value into planning is by requiring developers to submit a Social Value Statement as part of the planning application. This briefing paper highlights the need for a more transparent demonstration of a developer’s understanding of local needs. And a commitment to addressing these through measurable social value outcomes.   

“Put simply, if these measures can be adopted throughout the planning process and social value is successfully integrated and measured, a new development will be considered a success. Therefore, trust in the planning process will improve.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, it is essential for planners and developers to work closely together to build back better, greener and fairer.”

Download a copy of the briefing paper.