Agenda item

Community Wealth Building in Southwark

To receive a report from Southwark’s Local Economy team on council’s role in Community Wealth Building (CWB) from Nick Wolff, Principal Strategy Officer, Chief Executive’s and Danny Edwards, Head of Economy, evaluating Southwark’s strength and weaknesses regarding Community Wealth Building - according to the five pillars:


  Plural ownership of the economy

  Making financial power work for local places

  Fair employment and just labour markets

  Progressive procurement of goods and services

  Socially productive use of land and property



The commission received a report from Danny Edwards, Head of Economy on Community Wealth Building (CWB) on the following points:

·  Community Wealth Building, inclusive economies and inclusive growth; Place based approach at the heart of communities.

·  Pillars of CWB; Council wide approach for CWB; Southwark 2030 sets overarching economic vision for Southwark

·  New economic strategy 2023-30 details inclusive growth due for consideration by Cabinet in October 2023

·  Southwark Anchor Network is a strategic leadership group as part of the wider CWB agenda, harnessing the combined purchasing power of anchor institutions of £207bn.

·  Fairer Future’s Procurement Framework due to be considered at Cabinet in September 2023.

·  Southwark Works initiative with support from council and anchor institutions

The commission then asked questions around the following themes:

·  Focus of the CWB programme on small and medium enterprises (SME)

·  Understanding the reasons for unknown size of companies in the Centre for Local Economies and Strategies (CLES) report. (pg.16)

·  Understanding unknown spend within Spend by Anchor and Geography in the CLES report. (pg.30)

The commission learnt from Danny that the unknown spend in the CLES report is a result of the data gathered from procurement based on a devolved commissioning model used by the council and anchor institutions, where the ownership for commissioning funds lies with local departments and institutions which creates gaps in the contract monitoring register. One of the recommendations within the CLES report is to look at new ways of gathering procurement data.


On CWB programmes focusing on SME and locally generative institutions, the commission understood that Southwark is not an isolated economy, therefore CWB program’s focus will always be a combination of large businesses and SMEs’. One of the ways the councils supports SMEs is Southwark Pioneer’s Fund (SPF).


The commission then had discussions around the following themes

·  Geography of spend concentrated to tourist areas with increasing demand for food and beverage businesses compared to retail businesses catering to local need.

·  Connecting local employment needs to local opportunities, decreasing in work poverty; Unlocking spend from large businesses to support SME

·  SPF and its work in supporting SMEs like care leavers, women and BAME owned businesses.

·  Consideration and implementation of the recommendations from the CLES report; Success and delivery of social value business projects

·  Detailed analysis of local employment amongst the anchor institutions; promoting Southwark Works to local employment need, like care-leavers; dedicated employment engagement service in Southwark Works

·  Affordable accommodation for key workers; Southwark works promotion in schools; Information on procurement from large multi-centre companies

·  Places identified in the CWB place based approach, targets to measure success in bringing in spend locally to Southwark.

·  Southwark being the first London living wage borough having 298 accredited London living wage employers and soon to reach 300 employers who would be supported a London living wage unit run by the council.

The commission heard from Danny that the dedicated employment engagement service is a critical component of Southwark Works and is being developed to be commissioned in the near future. On Southwark Works, 85% of employed are from BAME backgrounds but there is a need for a more robust and comprehensive regional engagement program. On social value there are pockets of successes such as jobs and apprenticeships within construction and also in delivering a London Living Wage, however there is a need for a central social value framework.


On place based approach in CWB the commission learnt that the focus of place based approach is in line with the local authority vision to support local communities and businesses; similar approaches within CWB focuses on neighbourhoods. The council’s delivery plan includes recruitment targets of placing 2.5 thousand Southwark residents in employment by 2026.


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