The new Act which will give greater priority to the social impact of public services
Today, the Public Services (Social Value) Act comes into force. The
new legislation requires local authorities and other commissioners, including
housing associations, to consider the social impact of their public
service contracts before they start the procurement process.
Chris White MP, ResPublica Advisor and sponsor of the Bill, said:
“The Public Services (Social Value) Act has fantastic potential to
make commissioning by public bodies smarter and deliver change that can benefit
our communities. The Social Value Act provides public bodies
with an opportunity be more innovative in the way that they construct public
service contracts, taking into account the social, environmental and
economic well-being of the areas they serve.
I believe that this could lead to more charities, social enterprises
and socially responsible businesses delivering public services – increasing
diversity in public service provision and supporting organisations which are
rooted in our communities to deliver the important we all use.”
ResPublica has continually advocated the central importance
of social value within both public services and private
business. In Spring of last year, Respublica hosted a private half-day conference,
which explored the challenges and opportunities to promoting social outcomes
in commissioning and delivery.
Since then, our reports and party conference activity has drawn on this
agenda, chartering further innovations for radical implementation. Our recent
report, Acting on Localism: The role of housing associations in driving
a community agenda, urged housing associations in particular to go 'beyond
the Social Value Act', to extensively engage local communities in judging
whether a service is adequately meeting their social needs. If a
service failed to do so, we recommended that it should be subject to a new
'right to challenge', which would enable both tenants and communities to
challenge existing provision to ensure that social impact is
Caroline Julian, Senior Researcher and Project Manager of ResPublica,
"The recent legislative emphasis on ‘social value’ is a
welcome shift in public policy thinking. The Public Services
(Social Value) Act offers a mechanism to 'nudge' public bodies to
highlight the importance of social impact in both the services the
they procure and the services that they deliver.
We now need to press for a far more radical social settlement.
The emphasis on social outcomes and the role of the community in
public services has huge potential to deliver a transformative agenda - one
that calls for a new social foundation upon which our public and
private markets could be based. Far beyond ‘tick box’ exercises, intermediary
institutions can act as facilitators, enablers and capacity builders for not
only social value, but a whole new social economy."
Chris White MP will be publishing a ResPublica 'Green Paper' in the
coming month, which will set out how the the Public Services
(Social Value) Act can most effectively be harnessed.
ResPublica will also be exploring such themes further through our
forthcoming research projects on the future of localism and local government.
For further information, please contact Caroline Julian firstname.lastname@example.org.