Public Services (Social Value) Act

From Wikipreneurship
Jump to: navigation, search

Public Services (Social Value) Act

The UK's Public Services (Social Value) Act is a pioneering piece of legislation, adopted not as part of the government’s programme but as result of a Private Members’ Bill, the right to propose which is decided by ballot. It came into force in January 2013, and lays down that commissioners of contracts must consider how to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area served by them through procurement.

The Act covers public service contracts (including service contracts with a works or goods element) and frameworks for such contracts, and applies itself to the pre-procurement stage of the commissioning process. It requires commissioners to consider whether to undertake any consultation as to these matters, and provides that genuinely urgent situations do not require this exercise. It applies to: all public service contracts over EU thresholds (£113,057 for central government and £173,934 for other public bodies) those public services contracts over EU threshold with only an element of goods or works all English and some Welsh bodies including local authorities, government departments, NHS Trusts, primary care trusts (PCTs), fire and rescue services, and housing associations.

Authorities are now learning how to put the act into practice. One example they have predates the legislation. In 2011 the London Borough of Waltham Forest put its transport services out to tender. In order to gain the best value for the borough’s residents, it included in the tender a question asking bidders to show how their operational model could contribute to efficiencies and give added value to the service. This question counted for 10% of the final contract score. The contract was won by HCT Group, a social enterprise which helps the most marginalised to access transport services and creates jobs for those furthest from the labour market. Waltham Forest’s approach allowed them to explain that any profits they made on the contract would be reinvested in a learning centre that would provide training for long-term unemployed people.

Source: Final report of MESMER project

See also: case study prepared by Social Entrepreneurship Network (SEN):