Embedding education engagement through planning permissions and social value

  • Partner: Skanska & Sedgemoor District Council
  • Based: Various, Somerset
  • Date: February 2020

Developing young people’s skills is key to sustaining a vibrant economy. Local authorities, through their commissioning and planning processes can ensure that delivery partners and developers contribute to developing this local talent pipeline.

Planning authorities can include training and skills requirements within their adopted planning policies. This enables the authority to secure a Local Labour Agreement with the applicant via a Section 106 agreement or planning conditions.  


CASE STUDY: Sedgemoor District Council 

Sedgemoor District Council has adopted an 'Employment and Skills Charter' to improve employment and training opportunities for residents. This Charter is included in the Core Strategy (2011) which sets out the Council’s planning intentions. Under the policy, the Council will enter into a Local Labour Agreement with the Developer/ Applicant for employment developments that propose 10 or more jobs. This includes:

  • An agreed % target for local labour
  • A training and recruitment plan
  • Commitment to an agreed proportion of local procurement of services and supplies.

In the case of very large developments, the Local Authority may request headline performance information on a quarterly basis. For developments proposing less than 10 new jobs, no formal Local Labour Agreement is required, although adherence to the spirit of the Employment and Skills Charter (i.e. local recruitment, procurement and training where possible) is welcomed within any formal planning application made.

For further information visit Sedgemoor District Council website > 

Caroline Derrick, Employment and Skills Manager at Sedgemoor District Council explains the impact the Local Labour Agreements have made:

‘Best of all is the impact it’s having on our community. Local businesses are gaining from the investment in skills and the improved supply of talent.’


Commissioning & Procurement
Under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 local authorities are required to consider how commissioning or procuring services could improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of their area.

Securing these improvements should be considered when preparing a service specification, during the tender process and in subsequently delivering the service. Developing young people’s skills can deliver social and economic benefits and is therefore a relevant consideration under this Act. When considering local skills development as an element of social value, the local authority and potential suppliers will need to consider what is realistic for each partner.

Issues to consider might include:

  • What are the key skills needs in the local area?
  • Which population groups might benefit most from support?
  • Who has contacts with the relevant parties?
  • Who has the skills to deliver interventions?
  • How will this impact on the core service delivery?
  • Who will monitor the success of chosen interventions?

Once a supplier is commissioned and delivery commences the local authority and contractor will need to develop a strong partnership to deliver a successful social value element. Further guidance is available here >


CASE STUDY: Skanska 

Project management and construction group Skanska deliver the highways maintenance service for Somerset County Council. The commission contains several social value elements including supporting care leavers and people with special educational needs to move towards employment.

 The local Skanska depot teams and Somerset County Council’s procurement and children’s services teams have worked together to make this a success.

Tim Henderson, Efficiency and Performance Manager at Skanska explains why the company has supported this approach:

“Engaging in social value activities benefits Skanska and our customers - improving our brand and creating value from a social, economic and environmental perspective. Skanska recognises that the people local to the projects we are engaged with are fundamental to determining how these benefits can be achieved.”

Stephen Whitbread, Contract Manager at Somerset County Council explains how this work has evolved during the contract:

“At first we asked Skanska to provide work placements for a small number of young people and having learnt from this Skanska have expanded their support to young people with special educational needs. It takes time to develop an effective partnership and we are pleased to see the growing impact.”

Company Bio

Skanska established in 1887, is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups. Operating around the world in selected markets in Europe and the US, Skanska is listed on the Stockholm stock exchange and headquartered in Sweden’s capital city.

It is an inclusive and responsible business that is helping to build for a better society. Known for working on major projects, such as the Gherkin, the M25 and Crossrail, Skanska are building, upgrading and maintaining the country’s infrastructure for future generations.


Sedgemoor District Council
Now more than ever, people are turning to their local authority for support and Sedgemoor District Council is working hard to ensure it delivers value for money for it's residents.

Sedgemoor District Council's priority themes are: Customers & Efficiency, Growth & Infrastructure and Housing, Health & Wellbeing.


Engaging in social value activities benefits Skanska and our customers - improving our brand and creating value from a social, economic and environmental perspective. Skanska recognises that the people local to the projects we are engaged with are fundamental to determining how these benefits can be achieved.

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