How did we help Salford City Council take one giant leap with 8 great steps?

Urban Vision is the joint venture between Capita, Salford City Council and Galliford Try, created in 2005.

Long before the phrase ‘Northern Powerhouse’ was coined, this pioneering partnership was already 
looking at innovative ways to transform a key Northern city by creating a thriving, sustainable place and opportunities for growth.

The challenge 

Salford is a city with a rapidly increasing population, and faces the additional challenges of a high unemployment rate and a household income lower than the national average. But it is also a forward-looking city with huge potential. The Council is committed to tackling the problems people in Salford are currently facing and securing better outcomes for the City as a whole. They have a vision of ‘a better and fairer Salford’.

Our approach

Urban Vision was formed to help improve services to the people of Salford and create a place in which people want to work and live, that’s packed with opportunities for investment and growth. As the first partnership of its kind, Urban Vision brings together the expert skills from across the regeneration, property, planning, landscape design and highway services from both the public and private sectors.

Its key aims are the same now as they were in 2005, to:

  • Improve services for the people of Salford.
  • Help create a thriving and sustainable place where people want to live and work.
  • Provide economic growth for Salford and financial returns.
  • Assist Salford City Council with budget pressures.

Urban Vision delivers on these aims through the day to day delivery of its services but, to meet Salford’s vision, also needs a more holistic approach – one that incorporates not just the physical environment, but social value, people and the concept of place.

The impact

We can measure the impact Urban Vision is making by looking at some examples they are delivering against each of Salford City Council’s eight priorities: 

Tackling poverty and inequality

  • the partnership has raised over £42,000 for Salford charities including Broughton House, St Ann’s Hospice, Wood Street Mission, Sam’s Gift and Salford Food Bank
  • 60% of our staff live and work in Greater Manchester and 33% live and work in SalfordWe also fully support the Living Wage
  • Urban Vision are supporting the Salford Youth Employment Careers Strategy and Talent Match across Greater Manchester to support young people into work.

Education and skills

  • helped the Council to create an additional 5,000 primary school places, since 2011, which is the equivalent of 24 new, one form entry primary schools
  • taken part in a number of initiatives to support Salford pupils with career development skills and advice, including Barry Pilkington, Urban Vision’s partnership director, becoming an ambassador at St. Ambrose Barlow High School, alongside a 12-18 month career enterprise scheme
  • introducing a knowledge exchange programme with Salford City Council and The University of Salford to develop a ‘social value in construction’ toolkit for Salford 
  • The diverse client base and the scope of projects Urban Vision works on benefits Salford projects and people through providing a stronger and more skilled workforce.

Health and social care

  • played a pivotal project management role in designing and supervising the successful refurbishment of the City’s Ingleside Birthing Unit.

Economic development

  • delivered a planning fee income of over £12 million to the council, through its planning service, which enables quality and speedy development in Salford 
  • generated over £100 million in capital receipts, from land assets, for the council
  • acquired over 2,000 properties on behalf of the council to assist with regeneration across the city.
  • integrating its property, planning and infrastructure capability and expertise into the council’s regeneration team, to help create new and sustainable development and regeneration opportunities in Salford.


  • supported the council to reduce the number of empty properties in the city by 57% in six years
  • strategically advising the council how it can develop and grow its portfolio to help deliver housing at below market and social rent levels for Salford people. 


  • working with the council and Transport for Greater Manchester to deliver around 28km of new and improved transport infrastructure by the end of 2018
  • the partnership has delivered Bikeability and pedestrian training to over 10,000 Salford school children and road safety training to 51,000 Salford pupils so far.

A transparent effective organisation 

  • generated 60 work experience placements since 2008
  • delivered over £20 million in financial benefit to the council from new initiatives, with a further £18 million committed to by 2020.

Social impact

  • provides continuous support to Salford City Council in the identification and delivery of energy saving projects to achieve its 40% carbon reduction target
  • is a partner of the Manchester City of Trees, a scheme to plant new trees across Greater Manchester and bring unmanaged woodland back into community use
  • having already donated more than 1,000 hours of community volunteering to projects across the city, Urban Vision will continue in 2018 with 37,000 volunteers looking to target Salford based projects which actively support anti-poverty and homelessness. Charities supported to date include, The Mustard Tree, Emmaus, Salford 4 Good, Emmaus and Salford Central Food Bank
  • is committed to the Digital Eagles and Digital You programme, which aims to get as many Salford city council staff and residents as possible online and surfing safely and to make everyone feel digitally included.

Barry Pilkington, Urban Vision’s partnership director says:

“This partnership has never been about just delivering significant efficiency savings. It’s about place, growth and jobs – and the people of Salford. Our priorities are firmly aligned with the Council’s vision, which means we also place social value at the heart of what we do.”

Jim Taylor, Chief Executive, Salford City Council says:

“The Urban Vision partnership has been committed to people, growth and place a decade before the idea of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ was introduced. Since then, it has continued to play a key part in the city, from building new schools, providing exceptional planning support, fixing potholes, and redesigning major road junctions.”