Leading businesses and social enterprises join forces to accelerate social value delivery

8 March 2022

Leading businesses and social enterprises have announced a new programme of work to accelerate and expand the consideration of social value in public and private sector procurement. This programme has been announced on the 10th Anniversary of the passage of the Social Value Act, a world-leading law which requires public bodies to consider social and environmental impact when making procurement decisions.

Social Value 2032: Shaping the Future of Social Value” will be led by Professor Chris White, former Member of Parliament and author of the Social Value Act. The programme will be delivered by Social Enterprise UK supported by a coalition of companies at the forefront of the social value agenda including PwC, Siemens, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and Shaw Trust.Since 2010, the estimated value of annual spend where social value has been considered in the award of the contract, has increased from £25bn to £100bn. However, despite quadrupling the amount of spending which is influenced by social and environmental factors, this is still only a third of annual Public Sector procurement spend.

The programme will consider how social value can be expanded to cover all public sector procurement and go beyond this, influencing the spending of the UK’s largest companies. If this was achieved, it would unlock billions of investment in new low carbon products; creating thousands of employment and training opportunities and see millions of pounds reinvested back into providing social, environmental and cultural infrastructure for communities.

Social Value 2032 will provide a new vision for social value at the Social Value Leaders Summit on 18th May 2022, taking place this year in Birmingham. Later in the year, the programme will unveil a “Social Value Roadmap” on the changes needed to enable the 100% target to be hit in the public sector and largest private sector companies by 2032 in time for the Act’s 20th anniversary.

Speaking about the launch of the programme, Professor Chris White, author of the Social Value Act and programme lead, said:

“I am proud of the role that I played with Social Enterprise UK in getting the Social Value Act through Parliament and encouraging public bodies and businesses to think about the social and environmental impact of their spending. But a lot has changed in ten years, from Net Zero to the renewed focus on reducing inequality in our society. Social value needs to adapt and accelerate to meet those new challenges.”

“The fact that we have a coalition of leading companies and social enterprises in social value gives me confidence that there is more that we can do to spread the influence of social value to ensure that every part of the public sector and our biggest businesses maximise the social and environmental impact of their spending.”

“The UK has been a world leader on this agenda since we introduced the Act but we cannot rest on our laurels. I hope that working together with these leading businesses and social enterprises, we can show how social value can provide practical help in the race to Net Zero and to level up the country.”    

Speaking on behalf of programme partner PwC, Nancy Park said:

“Delivering Social Value is strongly aligned to our purpose here at PwC.  Our responsible business framework informs the decisions that we make, the engagements we accept and the advice we give to our clients. Increasingly our public and private sector clients want to find out how they can have greater positive social and environmental impact.”

“We take social value into account in all our spend as well as in our recruitment and deployment and strategic decision making.  These are key ways that we can achieve positive social and environmental impact. We are delighted to be part of this programme of work and to be able to contribute our expertise to the future of social value.”

Chris Luck CB MBE, Chief Executive of Shaw Trust, a leading charity social enterprise and programme partner said:

Social value is at the heart of everything we do as a social-enterprise model charity, and we have been pioneers in utilizing social value since the Act was introduced ten years ago. Through our ‘charitable heart with a business brain’ approach, we have seen the benefits to our service-users and communities when social value is done well, but we need to do more to ensure that commissioning and procurement maximises the opportunities of social value. In particular, we need to ensure that social value supports the work of social enterprises, like ours, who work every penny to generate benefits for society.”

“Accelerating and expanding the use of social value will create new challenges. For that reason, I believe it is important for Shaw Trust to be a partner and contribute our experience of using social value in practice to deliver high-quality public services.”

John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, programme partner said:

“At SUEZ we are clear that our activities must benefit more than the bottom line and social value forms a core part of our business strategy. In 2020 we created £1.98 billion in social value, up from £1.55 billion in 2019. This value is not just a number, it reflects the benefits from our work delivering essential services around the UK. Social value matters to people and communities and that’s why it matters to us.”

“We’re passionate about sharing our experiences to support our customers and peers in using social value effectively, and we’re looking forward to learning from others about their work, to help us move forward on our social value journey.”

Dietmar Harteveld, Head of Supply Chain Management, EMEA of Siemens, programme partner said:

“Siemens is proud to be part of this programme and to support efforts to make business sustainable. We have put in place our DEGREE framework to decarbonize our business, ensure high standards of ethics and equity as well as improve our resource efficiency and the employability of our staff.”

“Social value is an important tool in realizing our aspirations and we are proud to be part of this programme which will consider what more can be done to get business to contribute to making our society better and greener.”

“Siemens has been at the forefront of improving our procurement to ‘Buy Social’ and develop new partnerships with social enterprises and SMEs to increase the social and environmental impact of our business. We look forward to working with our partners to expand the opportunities for social value in supply chains across the public and private sectors.”