How Your Organisation Might Use the Social Value Act
The Social Value Act or to give it the more formal title, The Public Services (Social Value) Act has been in force for just over three years now. If you are not familiar with the act, it requires the commissioners of public services to consider how they might be able to use the procurement process to build better social, economic and environmental outcomes.
While there are few regimented rules that govern how public service commissioners should comply with this requirement, it certainly does encourage them to talk to local providers, predominantly social enterprises, in order to design services or find better solutions that benefit the community.
It should lead to a greater devolution of service provision to alternate organisations that in turn may provide better value, better community outcomes and are in fact, closer to the issues that the services may be there to address.
As an example, local authorities are significant purchasers of food services. In selecting a supplier, they might consider the additional benefit of social enterprise who might also add additional value. They might for example be training vulnerable individuals or providing educational services around healthy eating.
While the effectiveness of the Social Value Act has not been consistent across the UK, there are lots of examples of great regional work.
Of course, the act was not designed to benefit the third sector per se. Private companies are also embracing the act and the impact it can have. Trading platforms that contribute back to good causes or local communities are becoming more commonplace.
If you think that your organisation could work with local commissioners, the best thing to do is simple, talk to them! Many commissioners are looking for opportunities to increase social value and may be entirely unaware of your organisations capabilities to help them discharge those responsibilities. There are organisations too they are happy to support you in building skills that might help you win tenders for services too such as The Social Value Hub and Social Enterprise UK.
To get basic information about the Act, visit the government website concerning the introduction and ongoing review of the act.