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Blog Week: Securing Social Value as the primary metric for public services

27th April 2015

In 2012, the Social Value Act encouraged a new way of thinking about public service commissioning. Its passage demonstrated a recognition among policymakers that focusing solely on achieving the lowest possible price in public service provision fails to take into account the opportunities offered by the procurement process to create positive social, community and environmental change at a local level.

Lord Young’s review, published in February, demonstrated this change, finding that the Social Value Act has had a significant and positive effect where its provisions have been taken up. Yet at its heart, the Act seeks to ensure that public service providers are responsive to local needs and make the most of local skills and assets – an agenda which we believe can be developed further.

The way in which devolution has captured the imagination of the press, public and political establishment suggests a growing acceptance of the ideal of integrated, place-based public services. The concept of social value is embedded in this vision of the public sector’s future; a radically expanded set of policy tools and freedoms for public procurers to make use of this concept could result in a step change in how community public services are thought of and delivered.

This week, The Disraeli Room will host articles from leading thinkers on social value who share this ambition, and who will offer ideas throughout the week as to how the concept of social value can be delivered and its impact maximised at the local level.


The Crown and Social Value

Dan Gregory

One of the more intriguing ideas to emerge from Cabinet Office under the Coalition government has been the resurrection of the concept of ‘The Crown’. Of course we’ve heard the rhetoric of joined-up government for decades now …


Enabling communities to thrive: embedding social value locally

Tony Armstrong

Whatever the outcome of the election, the challenge for any incoming government is clear. We need to find more effective ways to deliver public services that maximise the benefits to local communities, prevent problems and reduce future demand on services  …


Social Value – what’s in a name? Using the Act to change public services

Dan Ebanks

The Social Value Act was born in unusual circumstances. As the former MP Tom Levitt recollects in his book, ‘Partners for Good’, the then new Conservative MP Chris White launched the Bill in October 2010 …


Getting bolder with social value in procurement

Mark Cook

Working together will be the big theme of the new few years if we are to meet social need effectively. A new configuration of dependency, independence and inter-dependence in services for the public (and with and by the public) will be necessary in which public money and resources provide the seeds for change and not the whole medicine …


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