SEUK has just published a new report called Procuring for Good: How the Social Value Act is being used by local authorities.
Based on FoI requests to all local authorities in England during Feb-April 2016, the research secured responses from 87% of councils.
Around 33% say that they routinely consider social value in their commissioning and around 45% that they follow the letter of the Act and consider social value in contracts above the OJEU threshold (€209,000).
But only 24% say they have a formal social value policy.
Significantly, not one single authority has so far published the results of the social value it has achieved — but in the present climate, when councils are struggling to meet their statutory responsibilities, this is perhaps hardly surprising.
The report says that this represents “unspectacular” progress since SEUK last surveyed councils (two years ago) and concludes that use of the Act still cannot be considered “mainstream”.
It also says that guidance has achieved as much as it is likely to and calls for stronger legislation to enforce the Act.
We’re still ambivalent about the need to enforce the Act. Enforcement often results in implementation that looks as if it has succeeded rather than success itself, and there is a danger that this could happen here.
In any case, it can be argued that councils generally have made pretty good progress given the current pressures under which they are operating, and that the next big push really needs to be in health, where use of the legislation is virtually non-existent.
→ See all website archives on social value — from the drop-down menu “Policy Issues” choose “Public services & social value”.