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  • Guy Battle
  • 3 minutes
  • 24/10/2022

Unlocking the power of radical collaboration: What is ‘place-based’ social value?

Guy Battle discusses the key steps to delivering a place-based social value strategy while looking at the efforts of the Durham County Council.

It makes sense, does it not, to look after and support our own communities on the basis that if they flourish then we will all gain.  

To me, this seems like an obvious statement of truth and a good thing as long as we do not inadvertently and negatively impact other places. Levelling up and looking after our own should not be seen as a zero-sum game that somehow plays one off against another, rather it’s about making sure that as the tide rises we are all able to take advantage.   

And so, if the vision is to build a fairer, healthier, sustainable and inclusive economy where wealth (money, knowledge and opportunity) is fairly shared then the challenge is to work out how to get there together.  

This won’t be easy and we will need to unlock the power radical collaboration, where we work across traditional boundaries (e.g. public to private) and within sectors (e.g. business to business), aligned around a shared vision but where all members of the community are allowed to deliver against the vision in a way that is aligned to their own business needs and priorities.  

A community diagram showing that place based social value requires the support of multiple cross-sector orgs
Radical Collaboration sees no barriers, just opportunities to share goals and deliver more good by working together.

It is easier said than done, but we have been working with Durham County Council to put our ideas into practice and making place-based social value a reality.

We identified four stages to delivering successful outcomes and to deliver a place-based approach. Each step is supported by a series of actions that need to be taken if we are to reach our overall goal.


The 4 stages of Place Based Social Value Creation
The 4 stages of place-based Social Value Creation

The County Durham Pound

So, what have we achieved?

We are now one year into the programme and have made significant forward steps including

  • 12 public sector organisations working together on a common cause
  • Articulation of a common vision
  • A public pledge to embed social value into decision making
  • A commitment to respond to community needs
  • A common measurement framework that all partners will use

The Partners in Durham spend approximately £995m a year supporting many thousands of employees and we think that through Radical Collaboration this could unlock an additional ~£250m in social value.

  • More jobs for those furthest from the job market
  • More local spend and investment within the economy of Durham
  • More opportunities for VCSE to engage and deliver for both the public and private sector
  • More training opportunities for young people
  • More volunteering and support for community projects

So a lot to go at and if you want to find out more, please do check out our webinar to find out how you can unlock the Community of Place through radical collaboration.

Guy Battle headshot

Guy Battle


Guy Battle is the Chief Executive of Social Value Portal – an online solution that allows organisations to measure and manage the contribution that their organisation and supply chain makes to society.