Social Economic Environmental Social  Value


Social Value Knowledge Hub

County Durham is an area that spans 862 square miles and over half a million people call home. As we focus on creating a future that is more equal and sustainable, there is an opportunity to accomplish a seismic shift in the way that people, organisations and communities work together for the collective benefit of County Durham.

Through the County Durham Pound project, the ability to drive long-term social, economic and environmental benefits – or social value – is huge. This Social Value Knowledge Hub aims to keep the people of County Durham informed of the project’s progress and create a space for you to send us your ideas and feedback.

The power of the collective

Who We Are

The County Durham Pound project involves a number of organisations committed to working together to maximise social, economic and environmental value throughout the county. This could be via procurement decisions and the way our suppliers are selected; how we operate as responsible and ethical employers; or, how our grant funding is allocated.

One of the largest housing associations in the North East of England, with a primary focus in County Durham, managing 18,000 homes and employing 540 people

Business Durham is the business support service for Durham County Council

Responsible for County Durham and the borough of Darlington, serving a population of over 620,000 people 

Durham County Council is local authority governed and serves over 508,500 people who live in the county

The Durham Police and Crime Commission was elected by the public to make the communities in the force area safer, stronger, and more resilient to crime and anti-social behaviour

A public research university located in Durham. It is part of the Russell Group universities and has over 19,500 students enrolled

karbon homes partner logo

A housing association with almost 30,000 homes across the North East and Yorkshire

Local housing provider currently managing over 8,400 homes across County Durham

New College Durham logo

Further and higher education college and a sixth form, based in County Durham

Northumbrian Water provides water and wastewater services to 2.7 million people in the North East of England


Our Commitments

As we continue to recover from COVID-19 and focus on creating a future that is more equal and sustainable, we have the opportunity to accomplish a seismic shift in the way that we work together for the collective benefit of County Durham.

Collaborate proactively

We will share ideas and learn from each other’s experience and best practice in social value

Embed relevant processes

We will develop suitable processes to ensure high quality delivery and to meet the project’s deadlines

Empower stakeholders

We will hear the concerns and ideas of community members and other stakeholders across the public, private and third sectors

Respond to local needs

We will ensure that our social value activities address local needs and priorities wherever possible

Transparent & accountable

We will share what we intend to do and why, plus how we are progressing, so you can hold us accountable

Track, report, learn & improve

We will track and report what we are all doing using a consistent framework so that we are driving continuous improvement

Generating Opportunities

Our Objectives 

Create more jobs for local people

Reduce our impact on the environment

Support with meaningful training and upskilling

Help community groups and charities

Prioritise better health and wellbeing

Focus on equality, diversity and inclusion



of Intent

Details of our commitments to you
and our overarching approach

Reporting Framework

Our Social Value Measurement and Reporting Framework for the County Durham Family

Local Needs

Research, data and insights about local needs and priorities. Relevant as of March 2022


Videos of training sessions to complement the Social Value Guidance documents

Social Value Guidance

For organisations bidding for contracts and tenders that include social value requirements


Case Studies

Punk Simon Harris starts at believe housing in Social Value role

A Durham resident who feared his punk look and years away from employment, caring for his partner, would prevent him from finding a job has landed a role with believe housing. 

Former freight worker Simon Harris gave up his job at Newcastle Airport, where he was a DHL station manager, 17 years ago to become his partner Sylvia’s fulltime carer. Sadly, Sylvia passed away in October 2023.  After deciding to return to employment, Simon was “made up with the opportunity” after being offered his first ever admin role with landlord believe housing. 

Social Value in Durham Schools

Partner organisations of the County Durham Pound project and their suppliers have been working together to provide Social Value to local schools.   To date, the partner organisations have collectively recorded 1,635 hours of school engagement activity equating to a Social Local Economic Value of £27,644 in addition to supporting special projects.

For more information about innovative Social Value projects in Durham schools, please watch the video.

believe housing adds a splash of green to its fleet

A range of electric vans and cars has been added to believe housing’s fleet as it continues to find ways to reduce its carbon footprint.

The County Durham-based housing association, which manages more than 19,000 affordable homes, now has three Vauxhall Combo-e Life and 11 Vauxhall Vivaro-e vans and two Nissan Leaf cars in its fleet of 165 vehicles.

believe housing adds EVs to its fleet

PCC praises contractors as new custody development nets £10m+ for local economy

Contractors working on the creation of the new Durham Investigative Hub are celebrating a major new milestone after boosting the social and economic value of the project beyond £10m.

The Durham Gate development, which will provide more than 6,600m2 of up-to-date accommodation including 48 modern cells, has been intentionally designed to improve local opportunities, life chances and wellbeing for local people.

Social value in action

Growing the local economy is a key driver of the County Durham Pound project, so the partner organisations held a joint ‘Meet the Buyers’ event at the Radisson Blu in Durham to link local suppliers with a wide range of procuring organisations. 68 suppliers and 55 buyers attended the event and 144 one-to-one appointments took place to give Durham based organisations the tools and opportunities to win more business.

For more information about the event, please watch the video.

Livin and regeneration

Livin is transforming local communities by building new homes that are safe, affordable, and sustainable and by creating places that people are proud to live in. Livin offer support to help local residents and tenants into work and training which positively affects the individuals and community. Work opportunities include apprenticeships for Livin which are helping to make current and new builds more energy efficient.

For more information about how Livin helped to deliver social value please watch the video.

Social value in construction

Durham County Council working in partnership with its local construction contractors are boosting and implementing social value across County Durham. Through their social value commitments, the contractors have engaged with communities; delivered apprenticeships; employed local people on contracts; provided gardening beds and site visits for schoolchildren; and improved the local environment. The council uses procurement and supply chain opportunities to maximise social value.

Please watch the video to find out more.

community orchard

Creating an orchard

A grant from Northumbrian Water’s Branch Out Fund has enabled New Warlands Farm to invest in a community orchard. The grant was given to a local charity, North East Autism Society (NEAS), who have a training centre at the farm. The adults who attend the centre will be able to develop skills in growing and maintaining an orchard, as well as harvesting and processing the apples into apple juice, once the trees mature.

Please click on the link to find out more about this project.

ICT Social Value

Durham County Council delivered 200 hours of social value by engaging with one of the other project partners, Bishop Chadwick Catholic education Trust (BCCET). As part of the council’s connectivity contract, they delivered online and in person training on cybersecurity awareness to staff, parents and young people.

For more information about how these partners worked together to deliver social value please watch the video.

Believe Housing

Believe Housing has funded the installation of a wild pod at Oakley Cross School in West Auckland. The pod will offer a home for plants and provides a natural habitat for hedgehogs and wild animals. The school children will have the opportunity to learn about looking after the environment.

For more information about how Believe Housing helped to deliver social value please watch the video.

Northumbrian Water

Northumbrian Water has installed 3,600 solar panels at its Lumley Water Treatment Works. The array will generate 1.9 million kWh of energy per year. This capital investment will be expanded across a further four sites and alongside using green electricity will bring the company closer to its 2027 Net Zero ambition.

Please click on the link to find out more about this project.

graham at lumley


News and Events

GO Award winners!

GO Award winners!

The County Durham Pound project has been acclaimed nationally receiving the Best Collaborative Procurement Award at an awards ceremony in Liverpool. On 16 May the UK National GO Awards took place, with scenes of celebration and joy as the UK’s best public procurement achievements were recognised. The County Durham Pound also received Highly Commended in…


Frequently Asked Questions

Durham County Council (DCC) is committed to delivering social value and maximising the value of every pound spent in the area. Hence, ‘The County Durham Pound’ project was established in 2021 to increase Social Value and Local Wealth Building.

One of the ten initiatives proposed within the project was to establish a local ‘County Durham Procurement Family’ network with public sector partners (anchor institutions) to improve placed based procurement and local spending, collaborative sourcing (where appropriate) and local social value impact. This grew to include private sector businesses too and ‘The County Durham Family’ was formed in late 2021 with representatives from several local institutions.

Local wealth building means collaborating with residents, businesses, and partner organisations to create and retain wealth within communities. This could be through promoting locally owned and socially minded enterprises, establishing local supply chains, or managing assets to allow communities greater control of the buildings and land in their area.

Social value is all about organisations going above and beyond their business as usual to generate social, economic and environmental benefits for the communities that they live and work in and for society as a whole.

Individuals and employers deploy a wide range of actions which make a real difference to people’s lives. This might include awarding contracts to local suppliers, donating to public realm projects, providing staff to volunteer for good causes, hiring apprentices, or giving serving prisoners work experience so they can gain confidence and new skills. More information can be found here.

We will add highlights and case studies from the project to this Knowledge Hub so that partners, the public and local community groups can keep updated. We will add metrics as we acquire the evidence from the social value measurement and reporting framework and you will be able to see quantified outcomes like the number of new apprenticeships created or the tonnes of carbon emissions that have been reduced.

In the coming weeks, look out for our monthly ‘Partner in the spotlight’. Here you will find out more about each partner and how they are contributing to the County Durham Pound Project.

A Supporter is an organisation that supports the aims and objectives of the project but are currently unable to formally commit to being a signatory of the Statement of Intent and the commitments within it. As a Supporter your organisation will be publicly recognised on this Knowledge Hub as being part of the project and you will have access to resources and the opportunity to collaborate with partners on social value initiatives.

Being a Supporter could be helpful to organisations just starting their social value journeys as they will learn from the experience of others in the County Durham Family.

There are lots of ways to get involved and please use the Contact Us form to get in touch.

We are always looking for new charities or community groups within County Durham to engage with or support. We also want to be able to offer guidance for suppliers that are seeing social value appear in tenders and need some help to navigate that.

Or, if you want to become a Supporter of the project then please just let us know.


Contact Us

Please get in touch if you would like to share your ideas and case studies or become a Supporter of the County Durham Pound project.

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Social Value Portal manages the content of this page on behalf of the County Durham Pound project partners. We are not responsible for third party content.