Inspiring leadership in social value

Source: PSE Oct/Nov 2018

We have learned a lot since the last National Social Value Conference, with many organisations both in the public and private sectors now embedding social value into commissioning and procurement. Guy Battle, chief executive at Social Value Portal (pictured), reveals what to expect at this year’s conference, taking place in Manchester on 20-21 November.

It’s not easy being a leader, and more often than not, the cutting edge is also often the bleeding edge. But as budgets within our public sector cut deeper (now almost a net 50% cut in central government grants since 2010), never has the time been more important for new leaders to step up to the plate, put their heads above the parapet, and show us how to do things better.

For the public sector, this means being bold in expectations, but also recognising that businesses are an essential part of every community and your partners – and without their cooperation, little can be delivered. For business, this means thinking strategically about how to maximise value in the broadest sense, investing into your communities, and ensuring that every pound earned from the public sector goes much further than just delivering the core service.

We have learned much in the last 12 months since the last National Social Value Conference, not the least of which is that by embedding social value into commissioning and procurement, it is possible to deliver more value for communities over 20% on contract costs. If this was translated and applied across all addressable public-sector spend, this would deliver as much as £90bn in added social value.

Such has been the success of those leading the way, and as more and more councils embed social value with weightings of 10-20% into their procurement decision-making, it is clear that businesses that do not embrace the agenda will ultimately fail to win work with the public sector – leading to a more responsible and community-aware supply chain.

However, social value initiatives are not the sole ownership of our public sector and its suppliers. Amazingly, we are also now seeing private-sector businesses embedding social value into what they do as well, with organisations such as Prologis and Legal & General embedding social value into their day-to-day business operations for development, supply chain management, and corporate operations. For instance, Legal & General has publicly committed to measuring the social value of at least 20% of its property holdings, and Prologis now requires all of its suppliers to sign up to a Social Value Charter.

But despite the obvious benefits and clear community gains, there remain massive challenges. So this year, our National Social Value Conference – to be held in November in Manchester – is focused on ‘Inspiring Leadership.’ It has been designed to showcase not only the achievements of those who have been leading the way with their boldness, but also to inspire those who are just starting out on their journey or who have been struggling with getting traction, and to provide them with the evidence and inspiration to make social value central to the performance of their organisation.


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