With the government currently running a consultation on how it should take account of social value when awarding contracts, it’s perhaps not hugely surprising to see the same issue cropping up on the agendas of various local authorities around the country.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 came into force on 31st January 2013 and requires local authorities and other public bodies to consider how social value could be delivered through the procurement of services. In practice, the Act seeks to ensure that consideration is given to the wider impact of a service’s delivery and can mean, for example, that a council is able to select a supplier that not only provides the most economically advantageous service but also one which offers wider benefits for the local community.
Interestingly, a report in which a district council recently considered the steps it could take to increase social value in its contracts noted that whilst top-tier authorities have engaged with social value, reflecting their greater spend on services, “the dearth of district examples reflects both the limited spend on relevant services and that the Social Value Act does not mandate the inclusion of social value deliverables ; rather the Social Value Act merely requires public bodies to consider their inclusion”. The report notes that it is SMEs and local firms who are best-placed to deliver benefits within the district and advocates providing support and training to these firms to improve their understanding of public procurement.
Porge’s Illuminator tool allows local authorities to find out about their own spending with both SMEs and local companies in just a few clicks. The data is presented in an easily digestible format and shows the level of spend with SMEs/Non-SMEs and with local, regional or nationally-based companies, allowing a council to gain an instant understanding of the ‘bigger picture’ and providing a useful starting point for any authority looking to increase social value in its own contracts, regardless of its size or spend.
Illuminator is driven by data from well over 120 million categorised public sector invoices. To find out how it could help you to better understand spend at your authority and others, contact us today.