Integrating Social Value into planning

Industry Trends

The principles of social responsibility are integral to our business and we believe that the concept of Social Value has the potential to bring tangible benefits to local communities

Alan Sarjant, Prologis UK

Since the Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force in 2013, public sector organisations that commission services are required to think about how they can secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits for their local area through the procurement process. Now that Social Value is established within local authorities, should its principles of social impact extend to planning? Should the Social Value of a development be a consideration for every planning application?

To explore this question and its wider implications, Prologis hosted a Social Value workshop at its Solihull offices in March this year. Moderated by Guy Battle of the Social Value Portal, the workshop included representatives from both the public and private sectors as well as from local community groups.

Although the integration of Social Value into the procurement process is still at an early stage, councils can already see that Social Value has the potential to increase the growth and prosperity of their local areas, particularly when many are facing central government funding cuts of up to 40%.

However, as Guy Battle suggested, councils could unlock billions of pounds more for their communities by extending the principles of Social Value to the planning system.

Alan Sarjant opens the Social Value workshop at Prologis House

Following the workshop, the Social Value Portal and Delta Planning drafted a technical note, which points out that sustainable development in the National Planning Policy Framework is defined in the same economic, social and environmental terms as Social Value. Therefore, the groundwork is in place for government and local authorities to refer to Social Value when making or amending planning policy or through supplementary planning guidance.

“The principles of social responsibility are integral to our business and we believe that the concept of Social Value has the potential to bring tangible benefits to local communities,” said Alan Sarjant, Senior Vice President at Prologis. “The workshop brought together some of the key players in the Social Value debate and we are making progress towards a practical way forward.”