Response: Social value in procurement consultation

[INSERT ORGANISATION NAME] are responding to this government consultation on the use of social value in central government procurement.

We welcome the government’s renewed focus on social value because we need to do more to ensure that taxpayers’ money delivers a better society and a sustainable planet. Whitehall spends over £100bn a year on procurement, and it is important that this money is spent in a way that delivers the best outcomes for citizens.

Greater use of social value should also encourage more spending with social enterprises. Social enterprises, like mine, are businesses which have a primary social and environmental mission. We create social value through our business by: [PROVIDE EXAMPLES].

We approve of the recommendation for government to implement social value across all aspects of spending. Best practice at a local government level has showed that implementing social value across goods, services and works ensures that it used most effectively.

It is important that this framework is communicated as a minimum for central government and does not stifle local initiatives or more ambitious developments of social value within central government or other public bodies.

We also approve of the use of a minimum weighting as a method of ensuring that social value is taken seriously within government and by suppliers.

However, we think that there are a number of ways that these proposals can be improved including:

  • Increasing the minimum weighting of social value from 10% to 20% in line with best practice from local government.
  • Create a new theme “Social Value Innovation” which would encourage bidders to outline a range of outcomes and interventions that could be carried out to increase the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the citizens of the United Kingdom.
  • Expand and update the Unit Cost Database to provide all social enterprises and businesses the opportunity to understand which interventions are most valuable and provide greater accountability.
  • Consult with citizens to ensure that we find the best interventions to help our people and planet.
  • All government departments should publish a Social Value Budget each year. This would be the accumulation of the social value that would be created through contracts managed by that department. This should be a monetary value which is comparable year to year and between government departments.

We believe that these proposals taken together will have the effect of strengthening this framework, creating better value for the taxpayer and supporting the development of social enterprises within supply chains.

 

We would also urge the government to take on board the wider recommendations of Social Enterprise UK, which has a track record of expertise in social value. It is important that social enterprises and their representatives are engaged throughout this process once the consultation has finished.