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IED Annual Award 2023 winner: Nina Howells


Nina Howells, Commercial Project Manager at Salford City Council, is the winner of the Social Value Champion of the Year award.

The award – sponsored by Social Value Engine, jointly developed and co-owned by Rose Regeneration and East Riding of Yorkshire Council – recognises individuals who have championed and made a significant contribution to social value creation, developing best practice in their field and making positive impacts in their communities.

The nomination for Nina focused on her work as Place Social Value Lead, driving forward the council’s ambition to embed social value in their place-based activities. Perhaps most significantly, Nina has collaborated with planning colleagues to introduce a social value policy in the council’s local plan, meaning that every major development requires a social value strategy when planning permission is sought. Salford is the first local authority in the country to take this approach, and has already experienced an uplift in commitments to social value.

Nina has also advised colleagues and partners on how they can focus social value creation on impact rather than inputs, and how they can validate their impact, working with teams in the Place directorate to ascertain their current value-creating activities and explore other ways to have a positive impact on Salford communities through their business-as-usual activities.

After the ceremony, Nina commented: “I am thrilled and humbled to be recognised amongst such esteemed company with worthy winners and highly commended individuals and teams creating value through their work and projects. Social value is all about collaboration, so this award is definitely a Team Salford achievement. I feel very lucky to be able to do something I feel so passionately about, working with all our Salford communities and businesses to ensure everyone benefits from the growth in our amazing city. It is certainly a journey, not a destination, and with so much more to do together with colleagues and partners we will now look to strengthen our approach.”

IED Director Bev Hurley CBE, who hosted the IED’s 40th anniversary awards evening, said: “Many congratulations to Nina as the winner of our Social Value Champion of the Year award. Our judges said this was a strong submission demonstrating how social value can be embedded and integrated across multiple programmes. It provided clear evidence of strong practice across the organisation and having reach beyond her own role. Nina herself has also focused on social value within her MBA studies, indicating a personal passion for the topic.”

Separately, Salford City Council was Highly Commended in the Collaborative Initiative of the Year, which recognises outstanding cross-sector economic development collaboration between two or more partners drawn from local authorities, private sector, third sector, business and academia, for its innovative Build Salford Construction Employer Consortium.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “It is fantastic news that at the Institute of Economic Development Annual Awards 2023 we won the Social Value Champion of the Year Award and were also Highly Commended in the Collaborative Initiative of the Year Award. Social value is a key priority in Salford. I am absolutely passionate that local people must be able to benefit from the growth that is taking place in our city. We have worked hard to make sure the city is better and fairer for all and will continue to drive forward with this important work.”