BSSEC and Birmingham City Council join forces on ‘social value’

We are delighted to announce that the Barrow Cadbury Trust has awarded BSSEC a grant which will enable us to work jointly with our members, social enterprises and trading voluntary organisations and Birmingham City Council to create a framework which can guide stakeholders — both providers and purchasers — through the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.

The Act requires public authorities to have regard to economic, social and environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts.

Our aim is to enable the local authority and its commissioners to embed and realise social value in the fullest meaning of the Act, while also supporting social enterprises and others to understand how the local authority plans to use the Act, and the procedures that will enterprises will need to have in place in order to assess, evidence and measure social value.

As yet, however, little work has been done to address the practical implications of implementing the Act. This project will help Birmingham City Council — a key public purchaser — use the legislation constructively, while also ensuring that the implications for social enterprises are manageable, play to their strengths and recognise the real-life constraints under which they operate.

The programme of work will last for seventeen months from August 2012 and we shall be announcing events, briefings and ‘how to do it’ social value resources in due course as the project progresses.

Birmingham City Council and its new purchasing vehicle Buy for Good (a recently incorporated Community Interest Company) are key partners in this work and have been supportive of the idea right from the outset.

While we are working solely with BCC and BfG as the key public purchasing partners in this work, we are confident that the practical user resources which will be the culmination of the work will have much wider applicability and will be distributed for this purpose.

This is an important and timely project and will put Birmingham at the leading edge of social value-based commissioning. We are extremely grateful to the Barrow Cadbury Trust for funding the work.

More news shortly…


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