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Social Value Policy

Social Value Policy - Background

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 (the Act) came into force in January 2013, cementing the responsibilities of a contracting authority before procuring services contracts (subject to public procurement regulations) to consider the "economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the relevant area" in its procurement activity. Public procurement legislation also permits contracting authorities to consider social aspects when assessing the quality of a tender whether relating to goods, supplies or works. This allows authorities to select a bidder based on the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT), rather than at just a low price.

The Act states the authority must consider:

(a) how what is proposed to be procured might improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the relevant area

(b) how, in conducting the process of procurement, it might act with a view to securing that improvement.

In addition, the Act requires that in relation to the above duty, contracting authorities must only consider matters that are relevant to what is to be procured and must consider the extent to which it is proportionate in all the circumstances to take those matters into account.

The Act also requires the authority to consider whether to undertake public consultation, to understand further the improvements that can be secured through a Services tender opportunity, and how they can be realised. For example, a local authority consulted with service users on their 'Meals on Wheels', seeking feedback for improvement. Isolation and loneliness were identified as key concerns, and with this information the local authority subsequently secured a service which aimed to bring people into a local community centre to meet with others.

In order to deliver Social Value properly, and have it fully embedded and considered, commissioners must move away from just considering the core service being delivered by a supplier to one that recognises the overall value of outcomes delivered. Chorley Borough Council intends to further commit itself to the Act, by going beyond the Act's requirements and implementing this policy into all aspects of its commercial and procurement activity where it is practicable to do so. In doing this, both the detail and spirit of the Act can be delivered in all Chorley Borough Council's commercial and procurement activity.

However, it should be emphasised that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to Social Value. Each contract must be considered individually for its ability to deliver on these priorities where it is both relevant and proportional to do so.


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