Much More (Still) to Do

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Much More (Still) to Do

It’s been a busy few weeks at The Social Value Portal with the first results of our Local Authority Survey, the first meeting of our Non-Exec Steering Committee and dinner with Nick Hurd MP, along with discussions with Bristol City Council, Woking Borough Council, Chesterfield Council, the Society of Procurement Officers and the MOD.

First of all, results from our emerging survey. Over the past 3 months we have reviewed the approach to Social Value of local authority in England Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the first instance, we have assessed their on-line policies and where none has been found we have requested more information about their approach under the Freedom of Information Act.

The emerging results are fascinating and tell of a patchwork picture of take up.

Of the over 400 local authorities that we have reviewed less than 10% have a policy in place, another 20% either mention it or are still developing their policy and a massive 50% still do not have a policy in place (we are still awaiting responses from 25% of LAs).

There are some surprising leaders and laggards.

Leaders include larger councils such as Birmingham, Liverpool and Oxford but also some smaller councils such as Calderdale, Knowsley and Coventry City Council.

Laggards include some major councils such as Westminster, The Corporation of London and Bristol along with many smaller councils. Most surprisingly, we have not come across any Central Government Departments that yet have a policy in place including the Crown Commissioning Service who buy for much of central government and have budgets to make your eyes water!

The key question to ask at this point is ‘’Why, 2 years after the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 was implemented (January 31st 2013) has there been so little take up, given the potential that the Act offers to reduce costs?’’ Answers on a postcard please to guy.battle@socialvalueportal.com, but I suspect the following

  • Lack of clear guidance
  • The language of The Act is ambiguous
  • The cost-value benefits are not clear
  • Resources are stretched

We will continue to update our list and publish it in full when completed. Let me know if you would like a copy. Which brings me to my discussions with Nick Hurd MP who was kind enough to join our Non-Executive Steering Committee for dinner. We had a wide ranging discussion, but it is clear that we need more examples of Social Value policies that are delivering real benefits including added value AND cost savings; if we can get more evidence about the ‘proof of concept’ then there will be greater take up…And so this now comprises our homework for the next month – any support and best practice examples welcome.

As I said – Much More to Do for us All!

Guy Battle Guy is the Chief Executive of The Social Value Portal.