Selwood Housing

Background Info

The following information has been taken from Selwood Housing ‘Social Value in Commissioning’: “As a housing provider we are ultimately responsible for providing safe and secure homes for people who need them. But we are also a charitable social enterprise and one of our key aims is to get people to take responsibility for their own lives and help them to help themselves so when we commission new services or contracts we look for solutions to suit the community, not just us as the commissioner. Many of the organisations we work with are interested in developing their CSR strategies or just doing their bit for local communities but the bureaucracy surrounding grants and apprenticeships is off putting and so they end up doing nothing. Through talking to our suppliers and working with local charities and social enterprises it became apparent that our suppliers hold a crucial source of skills, knowledge and assets that our communities would really benefit from and so the seed of the Silva Social Enterprise Clause was born. Named after our social enterprise arm ‘Silva Social Enterprises’ the Clause enhances the work we are doing around social enterprise. Our approach is to strengthen communities, empower people and build enterprises. We base our purchasing decisions not just on price but on the quality outcomes of the solution offered and, through the Silva Clause, the social impact and community benefit. Each of these three criteria are scored and weighted accordingly for the specific contract.”

What did you do?

“The Silva Clause has been added into the tender process and gives bidders the opportunity to gain extra points for offering a contribution to the local community. The social requirement is relevant as we are a social business and it is proportionate as it is only one factor that is taken into account. It is possible for a supplier to win a contract without offering a contribution, because price and quality are still the key factors. Contributions are scored using a matrix system whereby the bidder is able to gain a maximum of 10 additional points based on: • Contribution to the Community Investment Fund as a percentage of the contract value • Work placements and apprenticeships for our tenants • Donations to fund tenant events and prizes • Community labour days; and/or • Anything else the organisation would like to offer We’ve now been running the Clause in our contracts for over a year and our latest development contract has netted us a contribution to the Community Investment Fund of over £8,000. So far the Clause has been included in a total of 11 contracts and we have seen: • A total of £37,500 pledged to the Silva Community Investment Fund which works out as an average of 1.1% of contract value a year; • 63 work placements; • 1 full apprenticeship; • 42 community labour days where organisations will work on community projects either in ‘Challenge Anneka’ style or over a longer period; • £14,000 pledged towards tenant events and prizes But companies are not constrained by what is in the Clause they can also suggest their own ideas as to how they can support our communities. So far we’ve seen offers of: • Directors’ time to help social enterprises start up; • Partnerships with the other social enterprises that the supplier works with; • Surplus paint supplied free of charge; • Pro bono legal work; • Mentoring; and • The use of office facilities including video conferencing. We are getting new ideas and suggestions with every tender and it clearly demonstrates our ethos and reinforces our values with our contractors . Interestingly, it works with all types of supplier from building services to professional services including accountants and lawyers! We involve our customers in scoring our major contracts, this has helped to ensure that we are commissioning the right solution for them. Their insight has proved invaluable especially when looking at contracts for services provided into their homes. They have been able to prioritise the areas that are important to them in the scoring process so that this is not overlooked by our staff.”

What did you learn (things to avoid, things to do etc)

“Although we have only been using the Clause for a little over a year we have already started to see some really positive outcomes. For example, we have a roofing contractor who had been struggling to get an apprentice and didn’t understand the system well enough, or have the time to be able to get one going. In fact, we discovered that there were no colleges in the whole of the south-west offering a suitable course for a roofing apprentice. Working together with the contractor we have been able to get our local college involved and they will shortly be providing the course and be a centre for roofing apprenticeships in Wiltshire. The contractor wanted it and we wanted it, and some innovative procurement through the Silva Clause has allowed it to happen. Another interesting example comes from one of our painting contractors. They are often left with surplus paint that, because of environmental regulations, they have to pay to dispose of. We have many community groups who want to be able to improve their local area or give a lick of paint to community buildings. The Silva Clause has allowed the two to come together and one of our local resident associations used the paint to spruce up a local play area. Lots of local kids got involved, so it was good for the community from young to old and used up paint that would have just gone to waste.”

How did this affect understanding and/or achievement of social value?

“The positive outcomes and enthusiasm suggest that this is something that companies are genuinely interested in and keen to work on. It is all about taking a sensible, proportionate approach to nudge our contractors to take action that many of them want to take anyway whilst giving an opportunity for some of our tenants to start to help themselves and take the first steps towards getting into work and depending less on benefits. If more organisations adopted this approach the benefits to individuals, communities and the economy would be huge.”

Links – Documents

Contact (email address etc)

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