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How to embed social value in planning

The paper could help you bring £30 billion into communities – all through planning

Right now, a huge amount of social value funds are sitting on the table, untouched. The way things stand, communities are missing out on up to £30 billion of social benefits – all because developers are not being asked to factor social value into the planning applications.

We’ve spent six months creating a paper, Embedding Social Value into Planning, that tells you everything you need to know. More than 30 organisations have helped us from the planning, design and development communities by participating in our taskforce. They’re all just as keen as us to find answers, to uncover ways that all this money can be unlocked and used for community benefit.

The missing piece

Social value has been factored into public sector procurement for a long time. The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 is almost a decade old. This forces organisations, including real estate, to consider how the services they commission might improve an area’s economic, social and environmental wellbeing.

Planning has been the missing piece. It is rare for social value to be included in the planning process, which means that developers only start thinking about it once they have a plan for their project. If instead, planners and developers could work together, no doubt they could build a better, greener, fairer environment for everyone.

Social Value Portal is already helping some forward-thinking real estate organisations to think about social value right from the beginning, as well as councils and public sector bodies. Mixed-use developer First Base is a prime example.

“For First Base, embedding an approach to social value from the outset of any project is fundamental,” Liam Ronan-Chlond, Stakeholder & External Relations at First Base, said. “Developing a social value strategy for our planning applications is the best way to ensure that we can maximise the social, economic and environmental value generated throughout the lifecycle of our developments. It is important to us that any social value delivered is tangible, needs-based and developed in collaboration with communities. That is why we are committed to adopting the Social Value Portal’s approach on all major developments.”

What you’ll find in ‘How to embed social value in planning’

We’re not saying that any of this is easy. That’s why we’re here to help. As a start, download this paper and you will find:

  • Guidance for councils on the options they have for embedding social value into their planning policy in the short term and before the development of a Local Plan
  • Policy guidance for planners on how to embed social value into developing a local plan
  • Guidance for developers on how they can use the National Planning Policy Framework to submit a social value statement and ensure it is considered as part of the planning submission
  • Examples of best practice to illustrate the progress being made by some over and above planning compliance.

It makes no sense for so much money to be ignored as we emerge from the pandemic. Our paper is a monumental piece of work, the results of which have the power to change lives. If the potential for social value in the planning process is realised, we can help communities recover, deliver better places to live and work to rebuild trust.

Download now

How to embed social value in planning