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19 October 2018
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Government needs to be bolder on SOCIAL VALUE ACT, SAYS REPORT

Report is a step change for social value © Shutterstock

7 December 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

The Social Value Act is shaping £25 billion worth of public sector spend including delivering training and apprenticeships, says a report launched this morning by Social Enterprise UK.


It cites facilities management as one of the better sectors for good practice alongside construction and social care.


Yet it says the act is still only “scratching the surface of what is possible” and calls for the act to be extended to cover all public sector spending, which the organisation claims will generate “more than 10 times its current impact”.


It also states that, “more consistent approaches to social value and clearer methods of implementation are seeing social value measurement improve as cross-sector frameworks are progressing rapidly”.


Lord Young’s review of the act published in 2015 was, say the report’s authors, “cautious” and now the government needed to be “bold”.


The report makes several headline recommendations.

  1. 1) The act needs to be extended ‘horizontally’ by including goods and works, but also to planning and assets and wider infrastructure.
  3. 2) The act needs to be extended ‘vertically’ by changing ‘consider’ to ‘account for’ in the language of the act, and requiring this throughout the commissioning cycle, including contract management.
  5. 3) Social value needs to be included as a precursor and core element in devolution agreements, requiring devolved areas to include it in their joined-up commissioning and procurement.
  7. 4) These changes need to be supported by clearer statutory guidance by central government, including case studies, example weightings and removing thresholds.
  9. 5) A biennial State of Social Value Audit conducted independently but with the support of the government.


In combination, these five measures will shift behaviours, change practice and create a transformation and step change in the way social value is thought of and used. More detailed and technical policy recommendations are included which go into each of these in more depth, and give ways in which they could be put into action.