The new Leeds Social Value Charter was launched recently at a well-attended event at Leeds Beckett University’s Broadcasting Place.
Development of the Charter was overseen by the Third Sector Partnership and largely undertaken through the cross-sector Health and Social Value Programme that ran in Leeds during 2015.
The launch event on 24th May provided the opportunity for agencies and organisations from all sectors to state their commitment to the Charter, which supports Leeds aim to be a healthy, fair, compassionate and caring city where everyone benefits from the city’s economic growth. Organisations speaking at the launch included the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, Mears (a major private sector contractor to the Council), the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, and the city’s two main Universities, with Hannah Howe from Volition speaking on behalf of Third Sector Leeds.
The Charter itself is a single-page statement that sets out the guiding principles agreed by partners and recognises that “all sectors and partners, and Leeds’ many and diverse communities, make important contributions to the success of the city, but real added value and benefit will be achieved and we will get the greatest possible social return from investment by promoting social responsibility, building social capital and delivering social value.”
The Charter is also available as a 4-page document that provides additional background material, along with examples of ways in which the Charter can be put into practice. The aim is that all sectors will look for ways to develop social value throughout the range of their activities; in some areas, for example where commissioners build social value criteria into their procurement and contracting processes, local third sector organisations should be well-placed to benefit from new expectations. At the same time, the Charter poses challenges to us in the third sector; we too need to look at things like how and where we spend our own money, limited though it often is; whether our employment and environmental practices are as sound and as ethical as they might be; and whether we are using and sharing all our resources and talents most effectively. In these and others ways we too can contribute fully to achieving the shared goals set out in the Charter.
The Charter materials themselves can be found at https://doinggoodleeds.org.uk/socialvaluecharter.html, and additional supporting material will be added shortly and further developed over time. In addition the Charter will be promoted at further events, starting with the Lord Mayor’s event for small charities on 21st June.