The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 (‘Act’) came into force in January 2013 and yet despite the time that has passed since its implementation the uptake has been relatively patchy and slow.
In many way this is not surprising given the financial challenges that local government has been set over the past two years, alongside the weak language of the Act itself (as noted by Lord Young) that requires public sector bodies to only ‘consider’’ social value within their commissioning and procurement processes. And yet, there are those within the public sector that have embraced the Act as if ‘manna from heaven’ stating that it is a revolutionary piece of legislation that has “the potential to transform the public sector”.
So why this difference of opinion and why are so many councils still only seeing obstacles where others see big opportunities?
There are a number of reasons being raised by local authorities including:
- lack of guidance
- concerns about additional project costs
- availability of resources
However, central to this is a recognition that the very strength of the Act in its lack of specificity has also been its greatest weakness and that there is a need for practical guidance and real time examples showing how to apply the Act and what the real benefits are.
The purpose of this initiative, therefore, is to bridge this gap in our collective knowledge by providing a tool and support that may be used by all public sector organisations and their suppliers to assess where they are, help them decide where they want to get to and provide some guidance and tips on how to get there.
Take the quick online test below for a rough idea of where you stand, or download the Spreadsheet tool for a more detailed look at the different stages, and how to reach your Social Value goals.