New research published at our Social Value Leaders’ Summit highlights missed opportunities for local government

Today we brought together cross-sector experts at our Social Value Leaders’ Summit in Manchester, to discuss how this purpose-led approach to procurement and commissioning can be embedded across the public sector and influence spend in the UK’s largest companies.

The keynote speech from Manchester City Council leader Bev Craig looked to the future of social value, with insight on the city’s plans for this tool to benefit the local community. Attendees also heard how social value is being used in large infrastructure projects such as London’s new giant Tideway sewer system, and helping drive positive impact for organisations from Liverpool Football Club to National Highways.

It was made abundantly clear throughout the day that, when used effectively, social value can be transformative. It can create thousands of employment and training opportunities, unlock billions of investment in new low carbon products, and generate millions for reinvestment in vital infrastructure to benefit people and planet.

However, while this agenda has made significant progress since the passing of the Social Value Act over a decade ago, our discussions through the day and the new research we presented also show there is still much more work to do before the full potential of this pioneering approach is truly realised.

Launched at the Summit, ‘the state of social value in public sector spending’ showed that while local authority engagement has increased since we last ran this research exercise in 2016, many still never even apply social value. With council budgets squeezed and services at breaking point, a social value approach to ensure commissioning and procurement benefits local communities is needed more than ever – but unfortunately a lack of clarity and consistency across the country means this opportunity is often missed.


With a General Election on the horizon, Summit attendees discussed not only what changes are needed over the next decade but specifically in the next Parliament to better support our growing movement. If we are to achieve the goals on our Social Value 2032 Roadmap, it’s vital that we continue pushing for better and more complete implementation of the Act. 

The Social Value Leaders’ Summit forms part of our ongoing Social Value 2032 programme. This ambitious work delivered in partnership with PwC and Jacobs looks to put social value at the heart of commissioning and procurement, maximising the positive impact of every pound spent. If you’d like to get involved, please email