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Social Value Act ‘must be strengthened’

The Social Value Act came into force yesterday, having been passed last February. It requires commissioners of public services to take into account economic, social and environmental wellbeing when seeking to purchase services.

Social Enterprise UK has called for Government to build on the Act, making creating social value a legal requirement of all public service contracts and extending the act to apply to the purchasing of goods and works as well as services.

Supporting the Act with Statutory Guidance could also ensure it is effectively implemented.

Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK’s chief executive said the act has the potential to create a more level playing field for social enterprises and charities, and could help “banish a culture of commissioning that always defaults to lowest cost and is responsible for the mass degradation of services”.

He said: “The Social Value Act throws national and local commissioners a lifeline, giving them the freedom to choose providers that deliver whole community prosperity. In these austere times it’s important that commissioners choose service providers that deliver maximum value for communities.”

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said: “As taxpayers, we should all want those buying services on our behalf to get as much value as possible. This Act is an important step in encouraging public sector commissioners to think harder about maximising value to communities. It also supports our commitment to make it easier for charities and Social Enterprises to help deliver better public services.”

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