3 July 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
There needs to be "further clarity" around how the government intends to use the Social Value Act in procurements, says the act's author.
Chris White, board member of non-profit Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), author of the original act and former MP, welcomed Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington's announcement last week that all procurements would have to "explicitly evaluate social value" from now on.
But he added: "However, there needs to be further clarity around how government contracts will 'explicitly evaluate' social value. I believe that the act also needs strengthening across local government and the NHS, as well as ensuring that it is applied not only to services, but also to goods, works and asset management.
"We must also ensure that references to 'major procurements' does not mean that the threshold for accounting for social value is so high that it doesn't cover enough of overall public spend.
"The benefits of social value are clear and it should cover as much public spending as possible so that we get the biggest return on public investment. I welcome the minister's support for the Social Value Act and both SEUK and I are keen to provide any evidence and assistance that will further its cause and help it reach its potential."
Lord Victor Adebowale, chair of SEUK, said: "Social Enterprise UK has consistently promoted extensions to the act. This is uncontroversial; there is a consensus between the public, private and social sectors that procurement has the potential to deliver fairness and opportunity where it is desperately needed the most. We will continue to work with our allies for further strengthening of the act until every pound of taxpayer's money is managed in interests of generating wider, longer-term, societal value."