Procuring for good: local government & the social value act

Year of Publication: 

Procuring for Good - a new report published by Social Enterprise UK paints the most comprehensive picture yet about how councils in England are using the Public Services (Social Value) Act.

Findings from Freedom of Information requests [1] sent to all local authorities in England show that more councils than ever are considering social value when commissioning services: 1 in 3 (33%) now routinely consider social value in their procurement and commissioning, and 1 in 4 (24%) have a social value policy.

The report categorises local authorities into four categories –

  • embracers
  • adopters
  • compliers
  • bystanders

- dependent on the existence of a social value policy, the scope of contracts to which they apply social value, and how social value is implemented. The findings reveals that 1 in 7 (14%) councils are fully embracing social value, applying it frequently to contracts including those below the threshold (of €209,000) for services [2] – and the majority of these councils have a social value policy (58%). A further 1 in 5 (19%) councils are ‘adopters’ of the Act, applying it conservatively, but have a social value policy, framework or toolkit.

Almost half (45%) of the councils that responded ‘comply’ with the Social Value Act – they mention social value in their procurement strategy but apply it infrequently, while 1 in 5 (22%) councils are ‘bystanders’ – these operate without a social value policy and have little or no mention of social value in their procurement policy.

Full press release