Social value — central government is weakest link, says Blears

Further to this post and this, Third Sector Online has just reported a speech made yesterday by Hazel Blears MP at the Social Enterprise UK ‘Social Value Summit 2015‘ conference.

Blears, an outspoken member of the cross-parliamentary review team led by Lord Young, which is reviewing implementation of the Social Value Act, is quoted as saying that the report will be most critical of central government commissioning. Its commissioning practices, she says, “are the weakest link”.

We have got lots of local authorities doing this, lots of good private businesses doing this and social enterprises absolutely get this. Central government really needs to push on. — Hazel Blears MP

Blears has also said she would like the Prime Minister to ask each secretary of state to produce a report outlining what their department is doing to implement the legislation.

The review is also likely to include a call for public bodies to appoint social value champions. Blears herself has also said she is in favour of the government issuing ‘light touch guidance’ to public authorities because they need it.

The Cabinet Office says Lord Young’s report will be available at the end of February.

We will also be interested to see what the report has to say about the health sector, because here too implementation of the Act seems extremely under-developed.

We are currently looking at how the health sector is approaching social value as part of the second phase of our Barrow Cadbury Trust-funded project and so far we have found only one CCG that has published a social value strategy, with explicit reference to what social value priorities it is seeking and how its commissioning teams should go about doing this.

However, where CCGs are beginning to consider social value, they are approaching it from a perspective quite different to that of local authorities. You can get a flavour of that difference in this post.

We’ll be reporting further on this in the future.

Read all our posts on social value.

 UPDATE 06/02/15: You can watch videos from all the Social Value Summit 2015 workshops over on SEUK’s dedicated website and keep up to date with social value developments and new materials and research on the Social Value Hub.

Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website

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