The government is to strengthen the Social Value Act and require commissioners to “explicitly evaluate” social value when they tender a contract. So said David Lidington (pictured above), Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, during a recent speech given at the Reform think tank in which he stressed his commitment to using more voluntary sector organisations to deliver public services.
As it stands, the Social Value Act requires commissioners to consider the wider value added to society by each bidder; all major procurements will now have to “explicitly evaluate” those benefits.
Said Lidington: “We want to see public services delivered with values at their heart, where the wider social benefits are recognised. That means government doing more to create and nurture vibrant, healthy, innovative, competitive and diverse marketplaces of suppliers that include and encourage small businesses, mutuals, charities, co-operatives and social enterprises – and therefore harness the finest talent from across the public, private and voluntary sectors.”
We couldn’t agree more, although words need to be transferred to deeds. 3SC’s recent position paper calls for the same changes to be made to the Social Value Act and a greater willingness on the part of public sector commissioners to trust smaller enterprises to do the right things. At a time of great social divisiveness there is only one urgent task for all of us – to start cooperating and spreading the load. The days of monolithic giants motivated solely by how big a dividend they can give to a demanding shareholder ought to be long past.