Government believes that outstanding public services have the ability and power to make a real difference and change people’s lives. The Open Public Services White Paper set out a clear strategy for opening access to public service delivery contracts. Choice - There is a strong belief that when people have the power to make decisions and exercise choices to meet their needs, the value of public funds can be greater than when the state makes decisions for themDecentralisation – Passing of decision making and commissioning of services, from Central Government to local authorities, and from local authorities to town and parish councils. Introduction of individual budgetsOpening up delivery – greater opportunities for the voluntary and social enterprise sector and the private sector. Community Right to Challenge introduced by the Localism Act, to enable relevant bodies’ – voluntary and community bodies, authority employees, and parish councils – to express an interest to run a relevant authority service where they believe they can do so differently and better.Fair Access - greater choice between diverse, quality providers and ensuring equal access by the poorestAccountability - Public services will be primarily held to account by elected representatives, but greater opportunities for service users to hold commissioners and service providers to account.
This Act is part of Government’s drive to open up public sector procurement and drive better value for money. It is an essential component of the public service reform agenda and has the potential to make a positive impact across public service supply chains. The public sector spends £230 billion on goods and services a year: that’s roughly 15 percent of the UK economy and £1 of every £7 spent in Britain. Historically, when it came to bidding for public sector contracts, smaller organisations were shut out. Bureaucratic, complex and costly procurement practices tended to favour the big providers, excluding some of the most competitive and innovative suppliers. Government has started to radically transform the way government does business to correct this systematic bias towards big organisationsThe legislation does not explicitly favour the involvement of any particular form of provider in public service delivery. However, its focus on maximising social, environmental and economic value will inevitably ensure that the full contribution of organisations with a social or environmental purpose is recognised.Chris White – Tory backbencher who introduced the bill said – “its about stopping the irresistible supermarketisation of public service outsourcing”He also said “What I believe in is a future in which our public services are run by communities and the organisations close to them that have a sense of responsibility and put people before profit”. Policy has received cross party support and should empower organisations to be a little braver.
This is not a new theory – merely a new policy. As we’ve heard, a lot of councils have been thinking social value without using the name and many leading local authorities are increasingly finding that focusing upon social value alongside other factors drives more efficient and effective services in the long-term. However, the extent to which public sector agencies have taken social value into account has been patchy in the past, so it does give the private sector, voluntary organisations and social enterprises a good in. There’s the chance of more consistency across and between authorities. And of course, it applies to Central Government departments, housing associations etc. as well. Importantly, this Act reinforces the message of the Department for Communities and Local Government's Best Value Guidance, which highlights the need to commission intelligently through the ‘Duty of Best Value’Government has been advocating the values behind the Social Value Act for some time now. We want social enterprises and businesses with a corporate social responsibility to play a larger role in society and we know that one of the ways they can do this effectively is through delivering public services.The Act has the potential to make a huge difference as it gives social enterprises and small businesses access to these opportunities and commissioners the chance to be more innovative in the way that they design contracts. It is not intended to impose additional bureaucracies. It is a tool that will facilitate commissioning teams to procure services in a more intelligent way, giving them a better understanding of the wider implications of a contract. Social enterprises have certainly long been waiting for this opportunity. They wanted a channel that will allow them to deliver services to local authorities, state health care providers, justice departments, housing associations, and construction companies. Transforming rehabilitation, health services etc.
Government does not want to prescribe how social value should be measured. Rather, it wants to encourage the right landscape for social impact measurement to be more coherent, consistent and routine. Measuring the social value of a service is a difficult task. However, there has been increased focus on social impact and its measurement over the last few years from VCSEs, investors, commissioners and government and there is a real drive to make it easier to do. There are a number of different tools for measuring social impact, including Social Auditing and Social Return on Investment. The Act will help drive progress even further forward. The Cabinet Office is sponsoring the Inspiring Impact programme, led by New Philanthropy Capital, to accelerate the uptake of impact measurement across the UK social sector over the next decade. Big Society Capital has also recently published an outcomes matrix that standardises definitions for key outcome areas, themes and beneficiary groups. This is focused on Social Investment and Finance Intermediaries. The act requires authorities to put a value on the knowledge, expertise and local connections of smaller community based enterprises – the ideal would be charities and small business get a bigger share of the public services cake.
The Act offers two major opportunities to help charities, social enterprises and small businesses (a) unlock a public services market dominated by big corporatesAnd (b) improve commissioning in a risk adverse public sectorAs we’ve heard, Public Authorities will need to consider social value at the pre-procurement stage. Commissioners will need to understand what social value can be achieved though the contractThis is where you come in:Social Value objectives/ benefits need to be inline with the Public Organisation’s objectives – the higher the objective the higher the value attributed to it. So you need to be familiar with what those are.The use of social value fits comfortably within the broader commissioning context
The Act is only a first step and that there is still a way to go. For the Act to have the most impact, we eed Local Authorities and commissioners to disseminate the message across commissioning teams and to signal demand to potential supply markets.
Commissioning Academy: we recently launched this Academy to support capable and confident senior public-sector staff to commission in a way that is sensitive to the needs of civil society. It encompasses new opportunities for service delivery; co-production and innovative social action. It includes investment in practical support for both commissioners and civil societyFor social enterprises , Government recently published a Report, entitled “Making it easier for Civil Society to work with the State”, which is available on the Cabinet Office website. This Report sets the context for this Act and outlines other supporting government initiatives underway.Master classes: we are working with private sector providers, civil society organisations and the Commissioning Academy to deliver a series of practical ‘masterclass’ workshops to civil society organisations. These classes will provide practical commercial skills, particularly around commissioning and procurement.
The social value act- a national perspective
The Social Value ActA National PerspectiveApril 2013Ian Dodds, OCS Local Intelligence Team
Open Public Services• Increasing Choice wherever possible• Decentralising public services to thelowest appropriate level• Opening up the delivery of public servicesto a range of providers• Ensuring fair access to public services• Making public services more accountableto users and taxpayers2 The Social Value Act – A National Perspective
The Social Value ActWhat do we want to achieve?• Open up Public Services• Drive Better Value for Money• Rebalance a public services market thatcurrently favours big organisations withfinancial muscle and expert bid writingcapabilities.3 The Social Value Act – A National Perspective
The Social Value ActWhat’s new about the Social Value Act?• New Policy not new theory• More consistent approach• Encourages innovation• New Opportunities4 The Social Value Act – A National Perspective
What is Social Value?A number of definitions!Social value – “value – not in the narrow sense but in the truesense – recognising the importance of social, environmentaland economic well-being across our communities and in ourlives”“Additional benefit to the community from a commissioning /procurement process over and above the direct purchasing ofgoods, services and outcomes”“Social value refers to wider non-financial impacts ofprogrammes, organisations and intervention, including thewellbeing of individuals and communities, social capital and theenvironment. These are typically described as soft outcomes;mainly because they are difficult to quantify and measure”5 The Social Value Act – A National Perspective
OpportunitiesImprove the commissioning of public services:• Social Value should be embedded in the public sector’scommissioning and procurement strategies – withopportunities to influence and develop the strategies,including the types of social value that might be takeninto account• Social Value should be taken into account whencommissioning/procuring a service – with opportunities to• Become more involved in developing the servicespecification• The Buying process• Monitoring and performance management6 The Social Value Act – A National Perspective
Issues for Public Sectoragencies• Public value requires policy or services tobe responsive to what is valued by thepublic, but also shape what the publicneeds• Lack of understanding across allcommissioners of services about SocialValue• Budgetary constraints7 Presentation title - edit in Header and Footer
Issues for potential suppliers• Different approach being taken by differentpublic sector agencies• Ability of public sector agencies to involvedeliverers of services in co-production offuture services• Ability to articulate added Social Value8 The Social Value Act – A National Perspective
Making it easier to work withthe state/deliver publicservicesCommunity Right to Challenge in the Localism Act giveVCSE organisations the opportunity to bid to run publicservicesProcurement Reforms - contracts Finder Websitelaunched in 2011 www.contractsfinder.co.ukCommissioning Academy – a development programmefor senior commissioners from all parts of the public sector.9 The Social Value Act – A National Perspective
Big Society Awards10 The Social Value Act – A National PerspectiveCreated to recognise individuals, groups or organisations that aredemonstrating the Big Society in their work or activitiesAward forOutstandingContribution toCommunityNominations can be submitted at any timeAward for ImprovingLives and Societythrough Innovationand New PartnershipsAward for Engagingin Social Actionhttp://www.bigsocietyawards.org/www.number10.gov.uk/take-part/recognising-others/big-society-awards-2