What is Social Value

In Salford we want to achieve a consistent approach to the application of Social Value across the city. The Salford Pledge for Social Value sets out to provide a single, shared approach and policy for Social Value. There is a commitment from the signatories that Social Value will be central to service, regardless of whom the provider is. This means that there is a real and tangible commitment to ensuring that expenditure across public, private, and voluntary, community & social enterprise sectors, generates the maximum Social Value across the city.

Q: How do we define Social Value?

A: Social Value asks the question: “If £1 is spent on the delivery of services, can that same £1 be used to also produce a wider benefit to the community?”. This involves looking beyond the price of each individual contract and instead looking at the collective benefit to a community.

Social Value can demonstrate social, economic or environmental benefit. The examples of indicators of Social Value benefit provided in the ‘Download’ area are grounded in Salford’s City Plan, which is the ‘blueprint’ for making Salford a better place to live.

Q: What legal requirements are there around Social Value?

A: The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 (more commonly referred to as the Social Value Act) came into force in April 2013. The Act requires “public authorities to have regard to economic, social and environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts; and for connected purposes”. It applies to all English and some Welsh public bodies, including the NHS, local authorities, other government departments, housing associations and emergency services. The Act is applicable to all public service contracts over the EU threshold of £172,514 (or £ 111,676 for central government departments). It is intended to build upon and complement existing UK and EU procurement policy and legislation, including Best Value Duty, Open Public Services and the EU modernising procurement agenda. More information about how this legislation impacts on procurement can be found in section 5.

Q: Is Social Value just the Social Value Act?

A: No. Although the Social Value Act is an important step in the right direction, Social Value can be considered in a range of circumstances not covered by legislation.

Commissioners and procurers may wish to consider Social Value in public service contracts under the EU threshold.

Organisations could also consider Social Value as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, for example by offering apprenticeships to local people or sourcing their office supplies locally.

In this way, Social Value can maximise wellbeing, place and financial benefits.

Useful Resources:

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, UK Government (2012)

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012: One Year On, UK Government (2012)

Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012: A Brief Guide, Social Enterprise UK (2012)

The Social Value Guide: Implementing the Public Services (Social Value) Act, Social Enterprise UK (2012)

Social value under the spotlight, The Guardian Wednesday 7th November 2012

The Social Value Hub