Sovereign puts its money where its heart is

Sovereign Housing Association has teamed up with social value broker The Social Value Exchange to ensure that the businesses it works with meet its expectations when it comes to giving back - to people and to the planet - by maximising social value from £50m of procurement spend.

Sovereign is one of the largest housing associations in the south of England, with almost 60,000 homes in 59 different local authority areas - and £50m is one of the highest amounts pledged by any of the organisations that the Social Value Exchange has previously worked with. 

The housing association is working hard to make sure that it supports its communities to thrive, ensuring that its residents have a say in the environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards that the organisation reaches.

As part of a consortium working to standardise approaches to ESG in the social housing sector, Sovereign has also been reporting on, contributing to and publicising a White Paper on the subject.

And now a new partnership with The Social Value Exchange sees the organisation put thoughts into action, taking ESG measurement right to the heart of Sovereign communities.

The Social Value Exchange puts community needs at the heart of public tenders, as community projects are 'auctioned', with organisations competing for tenders offer resources to get maximum ‘tender points’.

Dan Ebanks, founder of the Social Value Exchange, said: “The Social Value Act allows companies contracting for business to compel suppliers to create additional community benefits when bidding for a contract. The Social Value Exchange channels resources from those suppliers into local community projects that deliver against place-based outcomes.

“We developed the Social Value Exchange as an online marketplace to leverage procurement spend to get additional resources into local community projects, such as those that support our most vulnerable groups and protect the environment.”

Deb Williams, Social Impact Manager for Sovereign, said: “We support our communities by talking to the people that live in our homes and asking them what they need to make the place where they live better.

“It might be that they’re looking for practical support – that they need supplies or manpower to renovate a playpark or a public areas. It could be more abstract - that they want to take on the management of a youth centre, but need support to write a business plan. Or it might be that someone needs equipment like a laptop to undertake a study programme. At Sovereign, we support communities to sustain themselves and this new partnership will make sure that we work with other organisations that want to do the same.”

The Social Value Exchange has, to date, supported up to £46m of procurement spend for a number of housing associations and local authorities, including housing associations Clarion and Notting Hill Genesis and local authority the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

As a result, numerous local community projects across the south east have received capacity building resources, while the platform has enabled a number of suppliers to win work. It has also received financial backing from the Community Impact Partnership, an investment group comprising Clarion, Orbit, L&Q and Peabody housing associations. In addition, it has been backed by Europe’s biggest Tech for Good Venture Capital firm, Bethnal Green Ventures, and Nesta, the UK’s ‘Innovation Foundation.’

Ends

Notes to editors

The Social Value Exchange is an online marketplace that tackles funding cuts head on by channelling resources from public spend into projects that improve social, economic and environmental well-being for local communities. Resources from £25m of public spend have been delivered to community projects across London.

Sovereign Housing Association

As one of the country’s largest housing associations, Sovereign manages nearly 60,000 homes and aims to build around 1,900 new homes every year. As part of its new five-year strategy, Sovereign has already trebled its investment in community work, stepped up its development programme with a greater emphasis on major land-led schemes and focused investment on providing a great experience for nearly 140,000 customers and residents.

For further information please contact:

Dan Ebanks, Founder, Social Value Exchange: dan@socialvalueexchange.org

Deborah Williams, Social Impact Manager, Sovereign Housing Association: deborah.williams@sovereign.org.uk