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Gloucestershire Business News

Council puts social value at heart of spending policy

Communities will be placed at the heart of spending under Gloucester City Council's proposed Social Value Policy with the King's Square redevelopment set to become the first major project included.

The policy, which could be rubber stamped at a cabinet meeting on October 14, will procurement decisions are made with local impact in mind.

If approved, any procurement contract worth more than £50,000 will need to consider and outline the impact on the community's economic, social, and environmental wellbeing.

Providers must meet a number of criteria including promoting local skills and employment, supporting growth of responsible regional business, creating healthier, safer and more resilient communities, protecting and improving our environment and promoting social innovation.

The contractor for the King's Square regeneration, which is also set to come before cabinet, will be selected using the new policy and required to commit to local apprenticeship opportunities and enhancing local skills.

Council leader Councillor Richard Cook said: "King's Quarter is the largest and most ambitious project we are undertaking as a council, with King's Square at the centre of it, so it makes sense that it incorporates our values as a council and benefits our community as much a possible."

Councillors will be asked to give the go-ahead to appoint the contractor for the multi-million pound project at the meeting with the chosen companies asked to recognise the importance of maximising money spent within the city.

Educational opportunities will be written into the contract with plans for school visits and other community involvement including the design of site hoardings.

Gloucester Culture Trust has been working with colleges and universities to provide training opportunities for students as part of preparation for The Forum, the social and digital campus which will form part of the redevelopment.

Councillor Jennie Watkins, cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said: "By producing our Social Value Policy we can support our community's needs and aspirations in a really practical way and make sure our decisions positively impact residents' lives across the wider city as much as possible.

"I'm very grateful to our stakeholder working group for their contribution to helping shape a Gloucester specific framework.

"We wanted to ensure this policy was in place ready for the delivery of our King's Quarter development to deliver the widest possible range of benefits back into the community in terms of jobs, skills, wellbeing and supporting community-led action."

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