After years of supporting the implementation of the Act, evidence gathering and campaign building Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) were delighted to hear the announcement from David Lidington, Minister for the Cabinet Office, that the Social Value Act was to be extended.
The Act was passed by Parliament in 2012 with the support of Social Enterprise UK. It ensures that Social Value is considered in all public-sector commissioning and procurement. The Act was reviewed by Lord Young in 2015 and found to have a positive effect where it is used. Increasingly it has been cited as being one of the keys to driving the PM’s agenda for a ‘shared society’ and for delivering ‘inclusive growth’. Former charities minister, Rob Wilson MP committed to a further review the Act at SEUK’s Social Value Summit in February 2017, before losing his seat in the election later that year.
Chris White, SEUK board member, author of the original act and former MP said:
“It is great to see a positive commitment to the Act. However, there needs to be further clarity around how government contracts will ‘explicitly evaluate’ social value. I believe that the Act also needs strengthening across local government and the NHS, as well as ensuring that it is applied not only to services, but also to goods, works and asset management.
We must also ensure that references to “major procurements” does not mean that the threshold for accounting for social value is so high that it doesn’t cover enough of overall public spend. The benefits of social value are clear and it should cover as much public spending as possible so that we get the biggest return on public investment. I welcome the Minister’s support for the Social Value Act and both SEUK and I are keen to provide any evidence and assistance that will further its cause and help it reach its potential.”
Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair of SEUK said:
“Social Enterprise UK has consistently promoted extensions to the Act. This is uncontroversial; there is a consensus between the public, private and social sectors that procurement has the potential to deliver fairness and opportunity where it is desperately needed the most. We will continue to work with our allies for further strengthening of the Act until every pound of taxpayer’s money is managed in interests of generating wider, longer-term, societal value.”