Social value act has potential to transform public services
As the Social Value Act comes into force today, NCVO Chief Executive Sir Stuart Etherington said:
"This little gem of an Act has the power to radically transform our public services. It gives commissioners the green light to take into account the extra value charities bring. We know charities add something special which can’t always be seen from the figures in a tender document. They do it by putting their values and their service users first, often involving volunteers who have a personal interest and experience of the issues they’re dealing with. They are frequently the most expert organisations in their fields and have the skills and the drive to create genuinely better services."
For the first time, it is now a legal requirement for commissioners to take account of social value when taking decisions about how to deliver public services. Social value means added economic, social or environmental benefits. NCVO believes this change has the potential to achieve better value for taxpayers and better outcomes for society.
Voluntary organisations and those that support volunteering will be well placed to demonstrate this added social value, during procurement processes. Policy manager Charlotte Ravenscroft said:
"Too often, voluntary organisations tell us that their quality and responsiveness to local needs have been overlooked, in favour of cheaper bids. But this Act empowers commissioners to think differently and look at the true value of the goods and services they are buying. This could make a big impact if the Act is implemented effectively."
Volunteering policy director Mike Locke said:
"Volunteer involvement is another string to the social value bow. The amazing contribution of volunteers has been much celebrated recently, and this Act will promote greater engagement of volunteers and recognition of the economic benefits of volunteering."
NCVO Deputy Chief Executive Ben Kernighan will this morning take part in a roundtable discussion with Chris White MP, whose private member’s bill lead to passing of the Social Value Act. NCVO will continue to press for effective implementation of the Act, including training for commissioners and robust monitoring.