Social Value Bill Passes Through Parliament to Become Law

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Voluntary and Community Organisations across the country are set to benefit as the Public Services (Social Value) Bill passes through the House of Lords to become law.

The bill aims to instil the concept of 'social value' across all areas of public procurement, stipulating that public bodies will have to consider social and environmental factors when awarding contracts. The Bill is a positive step towards real change in public sector commissioning, compelling local governments to consider wider values (not simply price), and to provide greater support to local voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises. The Bill is expected to become law by the summer. It will apply to all government departments, local authorities, NHS bodies and housing associations in England and Wales.

Navca chief executive, Joe Irvin said:
“It means that from now on they will have to consider the full benefits to the community that providers offer. It will open the door for many local charities to contribute more to their communities.”

Irvin also called for “a proper definition of what social value means” with a view to ensuring the new law is implemented properly and that public bodies are aware of the guidelines they are now working by when awarding contracts.

Mark Hubbard, Bristol Compact Officer said: "We are currently conducting a survey into local commissioning and the VCS. This research has already highlighted the need for a clear framework to identify and evaluate social value. This is going to prove essential to achieving real, positive change for the VCS in the area of commissioning.'

Voscur, through the Bristol Compact and Bristol's Voice and Influence service, are keen that the local VCS in involved in the development of a clear definition of social value, that can inform local commissioning and be used by Navca and others to shape the national debate on the issue. Look out for more information on this in future e-bulletins and at the next VCS Assembly meeting in June.

Voscur is also currently working in partnership with Bristol University on a 'Proving Our Value' project. This ground breaking research aims to provide tools to assist VCS organisations to improve how they demonstrate the economic and social impact of their activities to funders, commissioners, government, and the public. The project started in November 2011 and will take place over an 18 month period. For more information on this project, contact Ruth Pitter: ruth@voscur.org, 0117 909 9949.