Chris White MP

MP for Warwick & Leamington

16 FEB 2017

Social Value Act

As readers may be aware, in the last Parliament I introduced a Private Member's Bill which subsequently became law; namely the Social Value Act. The legislation came into force in 2013 and places a duty on public sector commissioners to consider social, economic and environmental benefits when procuring services against purely financial concerns. Last week, I was pleased to hear that the Government intends to conduct a second review into how the Act is working and how we can spread its benefits more widely.

Evidence suggests that around 75% of public authorities are now integrating social value into their processes, but there is much more to do to increase awareness further and transform the way we commission and design services. One point that I will be asking the inquiry to consider is to extend the legislation to include procurement of goods. For example, North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) became signatories to the Charter for Sustainable British Steel, which promotes the use of quality British Steel in construction projects, in November 2015. This led to the establishment of a framework for construction works in the local area which included provision for social value outcomes. The first project that saw NLC fulfil their commitments to this construction framework was the £5.6m Axholme North Sports Centre.

The last review, led by Lord Young, took place in 2015 and it recognised "inconsistent practice" across the UK. As well as strengthening the Social Value Act, clear guidance needs to be made available to public sector commissioners across the country. The benefits of incorporating social value into procurement are enormous and I look forward to working with the Government through the upcoming review.

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