This article was adapted from our latest book, “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.” Download your free pdf copy today.

Social policy legislation enables new methods and practices for inclusion and community development. The Public Services (Social Value) Act of 2012 requires local authority commissioners to account for the social, environmental and economic well-being of an area when designing a service (i.e. pre-procurement), or when deciding to award a bid. This has enabled social enterprises and charities with a social mission to grow and contribute to job creation. According to a study by Social Enterprise UK, some local governments have gone a step further, developing new ways of commissioning, such as reduced management fees and advanced payment, as a means of encouraging social enterprises who lack significant capital to participate.

One example, as published by The Guardian, is Wakefield Council. When seeking a milk supplier for the local schools, the procurement officers selected Fresh Pastures, a social enterprise emphasizing healthy living, good dietary planning, recycling and job opportunities for the long-term unemployed. Similar social-value practices that overlap organizations supporting training and job opportunities for underprivileged groups are also being explored.

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 Activating the Urban Commons

Header image by Susan Yin via Unsplash

Khushboo Balwani


Khushboo Balwani |

Khushboo Balwani is a designer, strategist and activist, working on how collaborative methodologies can solve social challenges, in India and in Europe. In 2012, she wrote a thesis, entitled “Future