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  • 2 minutes
  • 30/10/2017
Social Value: A Legal Perspective

Social Value: A Legal Perspective

Social value has long been a legitimate consideration in UK public service commissioning, expressly and implicitly since 1999, explains Julian Blake.

This guidance was first published in the ‘Bridging The Gap’ publication by Social Value Portal in 2016, which may be downloaded HERE.

There is a common misconception that social value was introduced into UK public service commissioning by the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. In fact, social value has long been a legitimate consideration, expressly and implicitly since 1999, although the Act did add a duty to consider social value as a supplement to the pre-existing power to utilise the concept.

      Social value was first expressed as a concept within the ‘best value’ regime, introduced under The Local Government Act 1999, with the aim of promoting continuous improvement in the exercise of public authority functions. Updated guidance, published on 27 March 2015 states that local authorities should consider overall value, including economic, environment and social value when reviewing service provision.

      The Public Contracts Regulations 2006 required selection of suppliers by price, or by most economically advantageous tender (“MEAT”). These rules were superseded by The Public Contracts Regulations 20151 that expressly incorporate a range of factors beyond price alone, to deliver the optimum balance between price, quality and other cost-effective value factors.

      The 2015 Regulations apply the current EU Directive on Public Procurement and the new Regulation 67 now provides MEAT2 as the only basis of award, with price alone no longer considered a proper basis alone to award.  In addition, the updated definition of MEAT includes express reference to ‘environmental and social aspects’ of the price/quality ratio.

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