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  • 4 minutes
  • 21/12/2023

Social Value in Salford: Meeting community needs with a new planning policy

Salford City Council has pioneered a new Social Value-focused approach to the planning process.

Salford has attracted significant investment in recent years, with redevelopment and regeneration activity creating new opportunities for the city.

To ensure that the benefits of this investment were reaching all residents, Salford City Council created a requirement (through Policy F2 of its Local Plan, adopted in January 2023) for all major developments to submit a Social Value strategy during the planning stages.

Here’s how Social Value Portal assisted the council in developing guidance to support the implementation of this policy requirement.

Uncovering Salford’s key priorities

Salford City Council has an established vision to create ‘A fairer, greener, and healthier Salford’, and its ‘Great Eight’ priorities have been identified to help realise that vision:

  1. Tackling poverty and inequality
  2. Creating vibrant places and spaces
  3. Tackling the climate emergency
  4. Skills and education
  5. Affordable housing and homelessness
  6. Promoting transport and digital connectivity
  7. Creating an economy for all
  8. Tackling health inequalities and providing the best possible care

Whilst these priorities provided guidance and direction, the council wanted to look in more detail at local needs on a ward-by-ward basis. Social Value Portal prepared a dedicated Local Needs Analysis, drawing data from the council’s ward profiles, and Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

Social Value Portal also carried out an in-depth comparison between Salford’s findings and 30 additional North-West data sets. This gave the Council a clear picture of the needs of Salford’s population relative to the wider region, and how it could start delivering improvements.

The team also set out six Social Value Themes for Salford, based on the Social Value TOM System™ with a set of specific actions and results for developers to commit to as part of their developments.

Delivering Social Value by supporting developers

With Policy F2 mandating the submission of a Social Value strategy during planning, the next step was ensuring that developers had the tools and knowledge to meet the requirement.

Social Value Portal helped Salford City Council with this by creating a dedicated Guidance Note for developers. The note contains a comprehensive briefing on what Social Value is and why it matters, detailed guidance on building a Social Value strategy, and even key insights from Salford’s Local Needs Analysis.

Alongside the Guidance Note, there are further resources which developers can use to enhance their submissions. These include:

  • Programmes, contacts, and initiatives in Salford that can support Social Value delivery
  • A validation checklist template for completion and submission during planning application
  • An optional Social Value strategy template
  • Detailed guidance on each of Salford’s Social Value Measures

The Local Needs Analysis, Guidance Note, and supporting resources have assisted the council in securing targeted Social Value commitments which can address identified needs. They have also helped developers to optimise their proposals to maximise benefits for the local community.

The Salford team hope to build on this approach in the future to deliver against hyper-local needs and priorities and signpost developers to the most impactful Social Value activities.

Salford City Council is the first Local Planning Authority to adopt a Social Value policy within their Local Plan which asks for all major developments to submit a Social Value strategy as part of their planning application. To support the successful implementation of this policy, and unlock greater opportunities for the community in Salford, it was important that this new policy requirement was supported by guidance and resources to equip developers to respond effectively.

Phoebe Mangoma-Dennis, Senior Planning Consultant, Social Value Portal

Why the planning phase is key to securing Social Value

Creating a Social Value requirement early in the planning process encourages developers to maintain a focus on delivering Social Value for the community throughout the cycle.

Where some developers are less familiar with Social Value as a component of planning, the Guidance Note and additional documentation should provide a useful resource in producing an effective Social Value strategy.

Integrating Social Value into our planning policy helps us make sure community need is being prioritised from design through to construction and into the use phase. Addressing Social Value before the development stage also builds trust with the local community by helping people understand what the development does for the wider area.

Nina Howells, Commercial Manager, Salford City Council

Ready to boost your Social Value?

Salford’s Local Plan requirement has set a powerful example, and Social Value Portal is excited to be a part of this journey. Over the coming years, we have no doubt that the policy will result in real improvements to the lives of local people.

If you want to start unlocking Social Value in your own operations and communities, book a session with one of our experts.