Public bodies are increasingly looking to social enterprises to deliver essential, cost-effective public services whilst creating social value. Whether it is taking on payday lenders and exploitative weekly payment stores, providing healthcare for excluded groups, or tackling youth employment - there is a social enterprise answer.

Social enterprises are businesses that plough their profits back into a social or environmental cause. They are not looking for a hand out from public bodies; they want a level playing field within commissioning and procurement policies.

The Social Value Act

The Social Value Act requires public bodies in England and in some parts of Wales to consider choosing providers based on the social value created in an area and not on cost alone.

The legislation asks that public bodies consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area.

Bespoke support 

SEUK was instrumental in helping get the Act passed and our team are experts in social value. 

As well as winning a Third Sector Excellence Award for our campaign on the Social Value Act, we have provided advice on the implementation of the Act to a wide range of public bodies including the Department for Health and Oxford City Council.

Our team can provide tailored, practical support to you including:

  • Training sessions and days
  • Action-learning sets
  • Long-term implementation programmes
  • Expert speakers for your events

Our proposal for local authorities explains how social enterprises can help to transform local services.

For more information email Charlie Wigglesworth

Guidance on implementing the Act

Communities Count - the Four Steps to Unlocking Social Value

A report based on research with housing associations and local authorities. Includes practical recommendations for organisations in all sectors.

Communities Count Toolkit

Gives practical advice on how to put social practice at the heart of affordable housing procurement. For local authorities and housing associations.

Mythbusting guide for public bodies

Helps address common misperceptions about public sector procurement rules, practices and processes that sometimes stand in the way of social value.

A guide to the Social Value Act - a practical guide for commissioners

Explains the benefits of the Act, and offers practical support on how to embed social value in commissioning and procurement from legal experts who advised government on the Act.

Procuring for Good

Published by Social Enterprise UK in May 2016, Procuring for Good paints the most comprehensive picture yet about how local authorities in England are using the Public Services (Social Value) Act.

Research for the report found that:

  • 1 in 3 (33%) councils in England routinely consider social value in their procurement and commissioning
  • 1 in 4 (24%) councils in England have a social value policy
  • Smaller District Councils are less likely to consider social value than larger councils
  • Those embracing social value come from every tier of local government and from across political divides

Feedback on Procuring for Good

‘Just a quick note to say I’ve really enjoyed reading the report. The way in which you have structured the data will prove a valuable tool in future years, in terms of enabling all councils to benchmark their performance again their own past identified classification and performance, as well as against other local authorities.’

(Commissioning Development Manager, City Council)

Social Value Summit 

One of SEUK’s flagship events is the Social Value Summit which brings together organisations at the frontline of social value and is a chance to hear from experts from across the public, private and social sectors; network and learn examples of best practice.