London South East Colleges has today been presented with the Social Value Public Sector Leadership Award in recognition of the work it is doing to support its communities.
The national awards aim to highlight best practice from around the country, showcasing how businesses are embedding social value and helping to tackle the social challenges within their communities.
The College, which has campuses across Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich, came top in the Public Leadership category, for its pioneering work to embed social value in its business culture, processes and systems.
This has included a range of initiatives from community-focused work experience opportunities, local procurement strategies and social-value related performance targets for staff.
In addition, staff and students have developed and supported a national foodbank campaign during the Covid-19 pandemic and a partnership with the NHS has been set up to support the vaccine rollout.
Accepting the award at a virtual ceremony last night, Dr Sam Parrett, CEO of London South East Colleges, said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept this award on behalf of the College and all my colleagues. To win an award outside of the education sector is a huge achievement for us, reflecting our ambition to become a genuine social enterprise – London’s Social Enterprise College.
“We are working hard to demonstrate the added value we add to our communities, beyond simply delivering qualifications. We are committed to long-term change with the support of our partners and stakeholders – including our local authorities with whom we are working closely.
“Further education is set to take centre stage in the rebuilding of the nation’s economy post-Covid 19 and we want to ensure that the social value our sector generates is recognised. This is not about getting our staff and students to do more – but about encouraging them to think and act differently, putting social impact at the forefront of decision making every day.”
London South East Colleges has been working with the Social Value Portal to quantify the social capital being generated – which came to a staggering £31m in 2019-20.
Going forward, the College is working with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the CBI to support more education providers to engage with the concept of social impact and focus on community wealth building.