Research into Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012

Posted in: General News

Rocket Science

Rocket Science have published their report titled “From best value to social value”  which looks at the opportunities and challenges for both public and private sectors in implementing the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. The litmus test as to whether public bodies are serious about extracting social value through this legislation will depend on whether they are prepared to give social value and best value equal status in future procurement decisions.

The research draws on the experiences of nearly 100 public and private sector practitioners during consultation in May and June and included a roundtable debate which helped supplement the findings from the on-line survey.

In response to the findings Rocket Science have made the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1 – Raise awareness of the opportunity

There needs to be more promotion and awareness of the Act particularly for the private sector so that they can “get ahead of the game”and start thinking innovatively about embedding social value into service design.

Recommendation 2 – Be clear about the benefits of social value

Creating an open dialogue between procurement and bidders is really important so that experiences can be shared and concerns raised.  There is always a danger that a social value consideration in one local area might have a negative impact on another.

Recommendation 3 – Focus measurement on longer-term outcomes

Bidders need freedom not prescription, developing high level outcome and impact frameworks brings consistency to procurement, but allows bidders to be flexible in their design of solutions.

Recommendation 4 – Keep options open

Focus on both the primary and secondary benefits of addressing a particular need, for example, using job creation as a conduit to supporting local third sector providers.  For longer contracts be flexible and allow businesses to shift and adapt to reflect changing circumstances.

Recommendation 5 – Put social value on equal terms with best value

There needs to be a real push at both leadership and practitioner level to understand the long-term financial returns and savings of a social value consideration and help procurement determine the trade-off between short term gain on price and long term gain on impact.

Recommendation 6 – Provide support but avoid lots of tools and methods

There is demand from both sectors to find out about practice and case studies to help drive changes in thinking.  But the market will become saturated and confused if the desire to create lots of new tools and frameworks ignores existing practice and opportunities for knowledge exchange and learning.