Community Wealth Building Programme Update

Date of Meeting:

2nd December 2021

25th November 2021 – Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee

Report of:

Executive Director Economy, Environment & Culture

Contact Officer:


Max Woodford


01273 291666



Ward(s) affected:








1.1         This updates the committee on the programme of work the Community Wealth Building Member Working Group will be undertaking, and the timetable for returning with a detailed report setting out the findings of the group and any potential longer-term work streams.


1.2         The Community Wealth Building Member Working Group has undertaken the inception and scoping phase of its work and is about to move into the investigation and planning stage which will inform an outcome report.  Following that will be a delivery and monitoring stage which will see the outcomes of the work moved to business as usual for team across the council.


2.         RECOMMENDATIONS:    


            That Tourism Equalities Culture & Communities Committee:


2.1         Notes the work programme that the Community Wealth Building Member Working Group will be undertaking, and that the Committee will receive an outcome report from the working group in Summer 2022.


2.2         Notes the findings of the Social Value Working Group established by the Asset Management Board and refers the report to Policy and Resources committee, and requests that the Community Wealth Building Member Working Group take forward looking at the issues raised.


            That Policy & Resources Committee:


2.3         Requests that the Community Wealth Building Group and the Asset Management Board explore implementation of the findings where appropriate.








3.1         In 2019 the city council commissioned a diagnostic report from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies into Community wealth building in Brighton and Hove. This was first delivered in December 2019 and updated in August 2020.

3.2         There is no single agreed definition for Community Wealth Building (CWB). Generally, it is viewed as a pursuing a form of economic development that develops and protects value locally within a community.  Within that, there can be differing emphases. 

3.3         The Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) define Community Wealth Building this way:

As a fundamental driver of an inclusive economy, community wealth building aims to reorganise and control the local economy so that wealth is not extracted but broadly held and generative, with local roots, so that income is recirculated, communities are put first, and people are provided with opportunity, dignity and well-being. Through community wealth building we are seeing a democratic, social and economic movement, which seeks to provide resilience where there is risk and local economic security where there is precarity.

Community wealth building has a particular focus on the activities of anchor institutions. Anchor institutions are large established organisations, rooted in local communities, which can improve local economic and social wellbeing through the use of their spend, employment practices, and use of land and assets.

3.4         The Council Plan 2020-2023 identifies building community wealth, under the banner of ‘A City Working for All’ as being one of three main priorities for the council.  With this in mind, the council commissioned CLES to jointly prepare a diagnostic of local Community Wealth Building potential. The CLES diagnostic report has been delivered, and with it was also suggested a high-level action plan.  However, this plan needs to be considered and refined before it could become something that could inform the work of the CWB Programme.

3.5       The council’s current Economic Strategy also has a chapter about developing a fairer economy, with CWB at its heart:

Priority Action 5 – PA5: Developing long-term community capacity and citizen leadership

Develop long-term community capacity and leadership to enable community wealth building, including:

local procurement models to be rolled-out across other institutions such as anchor organisations – hospitals, schools etc, encourage community ownership of assets as a route to community wealth building.

Promoting wider take-up of the Brighton Living Wage to encourage and support sustainable employment.

Explore projects which provide a real opportunity for the city to nurture local sectors, skills development and enterprise. It will involve promoting and supporting sustainable business practices including adoption of the Brighton Living Wage, investment in training and a reduction in exploitative working practices and contracts.

3.6         In January 2020, a report went to Policy & Resources Committee to establish the CWB Member Working Group and agree the terms of reference for the group at appendix 1, and at Annual council in July 2020 membership of the working group was confirmed. The working group did not meet initially to the pause on member working groups early on in the covid crisis. However the group is now meeting and engaging on this work as part of the Covid recovery process for the city.

3.7         It was later agreed that this working group would not address detailed issues of procurement and commissioning, to avoid overlap and duplication with the group set up in March 2021 to review the council’s policy and practice regarding social value from a commissioning and procurement perspective including the commissioning of the domestic abuse contract.  The group instead focuses on the wider economy.  During the first scoping phase of the work this has involved reviewing and scoping the CLES report and the draft set of actions they proposed.  From there, the group has agreed to:

·         Use the suggested action plan from CLES as a starting point for developing our own action plan.

·         Use the Economic Strategy as the basis for action, and in particular think about how to influence the private sector.

·         Use CWB to take more of a narrow topic-based dive into specific issues.  For example, looking at neighbourhood planning and 20-minute cities.

·         Consider other ways the group may wish to approach the issue.

3.8         The CWB Member working group has undertaken a scoping phase of its work, reviewing the suggested CLES action plan to decide what it would like to look at it in more detail.  The next stage of the group’s work will be to investigate some topics in more depth and plan how the council might address some of the issues raised in more detail. 

3.9         The group has already started some of that in depth work, holding a session on 20-minute cities.  20-minute cities is the concept of planning the city in such a way that people can live, work, shop and socialise in a local setting – not having to travel more than 20 minutes to get to and from places they would like/need to be.  As well as the obvious carbon reduction from fewer private car journeys, local businesses tend to be based more in the community rather than being outside corporations that can extract value and profit from communities.  The group held an initial discussion with representatives from the Town and Country Planning Association and agreed that we should prepare a feasibility study into looking at a number of pilot locations to implement 20 minute city principles: what measures would be needed, what they might cost, what benefits they might bring and how to assess their effectiveness.  Following that session, funding was allocated by the Budget Review Group from the Corporate Plan Delivery Risk Funding pot to implement that feasibility study, and  the Planning Team is looking to start work on it.

3.10      The next step for the group is to look at other issues in more detail and will theme the study of those issues by the five pillars of community wealth building, as identified by CLES. These are:

·         Progressive procurement of goods and services.

·         Fair employment and just labour markets.

·         Making financial power work for local places.

·         Socially productive use of land and assets. 

·         Plural ownership of the economy.

3.11      Appendix 1 sets out the areas that the group has agreed to look at in more detail, across its next five meetings.

3.12      The investigation of those five topic areas will constitute the investigation and planning stage of the work and will inform a report into the findings of those sessions, that will make further recommendations as to the work and decisions the city council needs to do to drive CWB in the city.  It will also suggest how we monitor CWB in the various workstreams we do, and will outline how we report against them.  The group would then move into the delivery and monitoring stage of the work, which will be less intensive, but they will continue to come together to review progress ahead of reporting back to the relevant committees.

3.13      Considering social value, and the impact the council can have on community wealth in the purchasing and asset management decisions it makes is not entirely new.  The Asset Management Board instigated its own Social Value Working Group in 2018/19 to define and measure social value in relation to the council’s rural and urban estates.

3.14      Appendix 2 sets out the findings of that group.  Many of the proposals have been picked up in directorate plans or existing actions of teams, including:

·         Assessing the potential for increased food growing on council owned farmland through the City Downland Estate Plan.

·         Looking at “operational” vs “non-operational” assets and shifting our thinking.  There is already work being done to assess social value in our decision making, and there is a community asset transfer policy in place. 

·         There are also specific projects around pop-up shops which look to maximise social value of non-operational assets over income potential.

·         A social value focused post is being created and filled in the Property Team.

3.15      Some of the actions are proposed to be picked up and looked at in more detail by the Community Wealth Building Member Working Group, and will be wrapped into the final report of that group.  This includes:

·         Looking at how we measure social value in asset management

·         Developing and embedding best practice for CWB

·         Considering how to build opportunities for increased plurality of ownership into physical regeneration programmes.

3.16      The work of both the Asset Management Board Social Value Working Group and the Community Wealth Building Member Working Groups were both instigated by Policy & resources Committee.  For this reason it is proposed that this update report and the final reports of those groups go to Policy & Resources both to update the committee and to make any future resourcing decisions around the programme.




4.1         The work of the CWB Member Working Group is driven by the Council Plan and the Economic Strategy.  The city council could decide to not look at these  issues and save the small amounts of funded allocated to the CWB work streams.  However, the savings would be small, and the city could not be doing all it can to deliver a more inclusive and fair local economy, which works to improve social value and keep the wealth that communities generate as local as possible.  There are also carbon saving potentials, in line with the Carbon Neutral 2030 Programme, that would not be recognised and delivered.





5.1         The Economic Strategy and the Council Plan were subject of community engagement and consultation processes and the individual proposals coming from the group would need to continue to be consulted upon as they emerge.  For example, the 20 minutes city workstream could impact on local communities, and individual measures within that would need to be consulted upon.


6.         CONCLUSION


6.1         This report updates on progress against key workstreams identified in the Council Plan and the Economic Strategy.  The work is moving from  a scoping stage into an investigation and planning stage and a further report will be brought to TECC and P&R committees to finalise that stage and move into delivery and monitoring.




Financial Implications:


7.1         There are no direct financial implications arising from the recommendations of this report.


            Finance Officer Consulted:     James Hengeveld                        Date: 01/11/21


Legal Implications:


7.2         There are no legal implications arising directly from this report.


            Lawyer Consulted:                   Alice Rowland                               Date: 20/10/21


            Equalities Implications:


7.3       None directly for this report. The development of a Community Wealth Building programme is intended to support and grow local communities and consideration of equalities issues will be fundamental to this work.


            Sustainability Implications:


7.4      None directly for this report. There are obvious synergies between the development of a Community Wealth Building programme and the city carbon reduction programme, and the council has already committed to exploring the potential for carbon reduction activity to support community wealth.


Brexit Implications:


7.5       None identified






1.         Community Wealth Building Member Working Group Meeting Programme


2.         Summary of the Findings of the Social Value Working Group to Asset Management  Board


Background Documents


1.         Centre for Local Economic Strategies: Community Wealth Building in Brighton & Hove


2.         Productive, Inclusive, Transformative: An Economic Strategy for Brighton & Hove 2018