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Commentary: Social Value in Government Procurement

Earlier this month, at the Social Value Leaders’ Summit, Cabinet Office parliamentary secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that the British government has reinforced its commitment to creating more social value. 

“This government will ensure that contracts are awarded on the basis of more than just value for money but [the] company’s values too, giving firms much-deserved recognition for their positive actions in society,” said Dowden.

Working with Claire Dove, a Crown Representative of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, the Cabinet Office and the DCMS have developed a standardised framework for procurement, which hopefully will provide clarity for VCSEs and commissioners. Her group has advised a minimum 10% weighting for social value when assessing tenders for contracts. 

Areas that will receive special attention when contracts being drawn-up include: 
  • Supply chain safety
  • Diverse employment strategies
  • Environmental sustainability focus
  • Prioritisation of staff training
  • Firm size and diversity of owners

Guy Battle, CEO of the Social Value Portal says: “This is a very important moment in the ongoing development of the Social Value Act and represents a significant uplift in momentum that has come about precisely because of the clear successes that local government has been delivering as a result of the implementation of the Social Value Act. It is true that central government is late to the party but they have joined with gusto and energy and that can only be very good news.

We are also delighted that they have taken the basis of their proposed measurement solution to be the National TOMs, developed by the National Social Value Task Force and that has now been taken up as the default measurement solution across the country. The Task Force will of course we reading the proposal carefully and formulating a response to be submitted in May.”

The Cabinet Office and the DCMS have jointly opened a public consultation, available here, which closes on 10th June 2019. 

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