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Government review of Social Value Act welcomed

A Cabinet Office review which could potentially extend the Social Value Act has been welcomed by the Social Economy Alliance (SEA), the campaign group for social enterprises and cooperatives. 

The review will help to decide if the Act should be extended, for instance, to cover contracts for goods and works as well as services. 

In addition, a team will consider how it might be extended in a way that continues to support small businesses and voluntary, charity and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to bid for public contracts. 

In response to the review, the Social Economy Alliance said the extension of the Act would help to ensure that UK public services and infrastructure work in the best interest of communities and service users, and that public money can be spent with companies that provide the greatest social and environmental value, pay a living wage and are open about their tax arrangements. 

The team conducting the review will be led by Lord Young, the prime minister’s adviser on enterprise, who will be supported by the Federation of Small Businesses, Chris White MP, Hazel Blears MP and Michael O’Toole, crown representative for the voluntary sector and soon to be CEO of Mentor UK. 

During the review, the team will consider a range of evidence and aims to report on its findings by early 2015. It will publish more information about how to contribute views to the review later in the year. 

Lord Young said: “The government has been facing growing calls to extend the Social Value Act and I am delighted that this review will give us the opportunity to fully consider those ideas, thinking about how we can achieve the aims of the Act. 

“I am keen that this does not add any regulatory burden to small businesses, social enterprises, or VCSEs.” 

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, a lead partner in the Alliance, added that the Act is still in its infancy, but already it is transforming the public service landscape for the benefit of communities. 

“It is helping to eradicate a commissioning culture that selects providers based on price alone and that often results in substandard services,” he said. “Strengthening the Act is in the public’s interest and vital to help the UK face the economic and social challenges that lie ahead.” 

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