Socially focused procurement secures Grand Prix Public Finance Award for Manchester City Council


An innovative procurement programme focused on social value has secured the coveted Grand Prix for Manchester City Council at this year’s Public Finance Awards.

The council’s sustainable procurement policy, which has delivered more than a decade’s worth of results, aimed to maximise the positive impact of procurement spend by increasing the weighting of social value for supplier bids. This meant projects would no longer be signed off unless social outcomes were addressed. Criteria included:

  • raising the living standards of local residents
  • promoting participation and citizen engagement
  • building the capacity and sustainability of the voluntary and community sector
  • promoting equity and fairness
  • promoting environmental sustainability.
The impact has been clear. Nearly three-quarters of procurement spend remained with Manchester-based suppliers in 2017/18, keeping money in the local economy. In the last four years, the council has increased spend with SMEs to 62%, supporting the sustainability of smaller, local businesses. As a result of the new policy, 64% of Manchester City Council’s suppliers now actively provide support to the voluntary and community sector.

CIPFA CEO Rob Whiteman said:

“Increasing focus on social value can be a tough sell in an environment where spending cuts and savings are the predominant focus. This is why the judges and I were so impressed with the entry from Manchester. 

“What Manchester has achieved here has demonstrated the awesome power of public spending in delivering real benefits for communities. I hope other public sector organisations look to this as a case study in excellence.”

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: 

"Social value isn’t just a concept – it’s something which delivers real and lasting benefits to Manchester people.

“I’m proud to say that Manchester has taken giant strides in our quest to deliver the maximum social value from our spending in the last 12 years. Through concerted efforts, we’ve ensured that it isn’t an add-on, it’s right at the heart of our culture. This award is welcome recognition that we're on the right track." 


Notes to Editor

The full list of winners for the 2020 Public Finance Awards can be found here.

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