Within the council we are working to ensure all of our policies, procedures and practices are co-operative. This means we’ve made fundamental changes to the way the organisation works.
Demonstrating our commitment to fair and ethical business practices, we’ve introduced the Living Wage across the council, ensuring that no member of staff earns less than the local cost of living.
Oldham’s Fair Employment Charter
The Fair Employment Charter (FEC) reflects our ambition to do more than just reduce the number of unemployed residents in Oldham. We want to create employment opportunities that are fair, ethical, responsible and sustainable. As the largest employer in Oldham, and with a strong emphasis on place leadership, we have a responsibility to positively influence and improve conditions of employment and encourage all of Oldham’s 6,000 businesses, and our own suppliers, to do the same. We believe that fair local employment is central to our ambitions for Oldham - thriving businesses with proud and committed staff.”
Social value in procurement
As a co-operative council, we are committed to securing the best possible outcomes for our borough – social value offers us an important way to do this – and in June 2013, Cabinet signed-off a new framework for procurement which means that we will include social value outcomes in every new contract we let.
One of the key tools at our disposal in making our co-operative commitment tangible is our approach to commissioning and procurement. We spend in excess of £232million with 5,700 trade suppliers each year, so by formally and consistently considering social value in the decisions we make in spending this money, we can make a major contribution to delivering a Co-operative Borough.
Our procurement practices have been re-shaped to better incorporate social value considerations. All tenders and quotations include a section on how social value can be incorporated into the contract and the outcomes are measured through the contract management process.
For example, our existing procurement processes ensure that the following areas are evaluated in tenders, wherever such considerations are relevant to the goods/services being procured. Bids are scored according to the evidence provided by potential suppliers in their tender documentation:
- Generating sustainable employment and training opportunities for unemployed people in the Borough of Oldham;
- Providing traineeships (including apprenticeships) and / or training opportunities for residents in the Borough of Oldham;
- Promoting supply-chain opportunities to SMEs in the Borough of Oldham;
The new social value procurement framework intends to build on and expand on this existing practice in order to:
- Ensure that we have a systematic, consistent and coherent approach to social value across each and every contract that the council lets,
- Encompass a broader range of social value considerations in what we do, and
- Implement a more outcome-focused approach with clearer links to our broader strategic priorities and overarching organisational objectives.
To help employees to ‘do their bit’ for the borough we have introduced an employee volunteering scheme. This enables every employee to use three days of work time to give something back in the borough. This can include volunteering they already do, for example, running a local scout group or football club or something entirely new to them.
This scheme gives thousands of hours of staff time and expertise to local community groups. We’re now developing this to target support to our priority areas, such Get Oldham Working – for instance using staff volunteering time to help local unemployed people prepare for interviews.
The scheme has been very successful so far and both employees and the organisations they have supported have benefitted from taking part in the scheme.
Employee volunteering case studies:
- Employee volunteering case study: Cathy Butterworth
- Employee volunteering case study: Sheila Bowater
- Employee volunteering case study: Oldham Carers Centre
- Employee volunteering case study: Addiction Dependency Solutions
The Donation Station encourages and enables Oldham Council employees to support local charities and residents across the Borough. It provides staff with the opportunity to donate unwanted goods and food items to local organisations.
We have run two Donation Station appeals, one in the summer and one in the winter of 2014. The collections asked for unwanted goods, which were donated to Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, and for in-date food items, to be given to Oldham Food Bank.
The scheme helped collect 930kg of food – the same as 10 baby elephants! – as well as over 20 large bags of goods to be recycled and sold in local charity shops. Volunteers came forward and set up stations at 15 different locations across the Borough, with support coming from staff across the organisation.