The co-creating of a social value framework improved the social benefits delivered to people living and working in Waterloo, placing exceptional education at the heart of a mixed-use scheme.

Lambeth Borough Council commissioned Human City to create a social value framework and guide the future development of a mixed-use scheme in Waterloo. The site plan was already well developed so we worked with Lambeth Borough Council and the long-term occupier – an educational institution – to identify ways in which the council could deliver greater social value through planning, delivery and procurement options.

The problem

Lambeth’s socio-economic profile is mixed, with areas of affluence and deprivation in close proximity. These inequalities have only intensified since the Covid-19 pandemic began, with its devastating impact on local communities and businesses. Every new development brought forward by the council must be both financially viable and shaped around specific local needs. The council wanted an approach that met financial and social value considerations, and a method for appraising planning and procurement options that addressed the interests of the council and an institution that offers exceptional education at the heart of the community.

The considerations

Although this was a short piece of work, we took a collaborative approach to identifying outcome themes and measures, and used them to guide the future development of the project. Partnering with impact management consultancy, Envoy Partnership, we ensured that input and feedback from both the council and educational institution informed the social value framework’s development. In built-up areas like Lambeth the range of stakeholders can be broad, and it’s vital to establish which are most important and influential to the project. 

Drawing on this deeper knowledge of the material stakeholders, we explored the activities likely to drive value for them. One of Waterloo’s strengths is its successful mixture of uses and communities. Understanding the interrelationship between educational, community and commercial spaces is key to finding opportunities to enhance the value of the site through its development and operation.

The implementation

Collaborating closely with the council and long-term occupier, we created a framework to enable the council to apply the main ideas behind social value to their planned redevelopment. The framework’s three themes and 12 outcomes reflected the issues that our analysis of ward-level data, review of council documents and discussions with the educational institution told us were most significant for local people. Crucially, they covered both the physical and social fabric of the ward and the Waterloo area. The framework included indicators and a data collection plan with the steps needed to measure whether these outcomes have been successfully delivered.

The benefits

The framework has raised new planning and delivery considerations. With this insight, the council should now begin to assess its planning and delivery options, looking at the potential value each option could release. It should also consider how it can best use the framework to attract partners and contractors, and the influence it will have on tenders and contractual agreements.

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