Helping you get to grips with social value

social valueThis February marked the one year anniversary of the Public Service (Social Value) Act, more commonly known as the Social Value Act.

I was lucky enough to attend a conference organised by the Local Government Association recently, on the topic of ‘Social Value: One Year On’. In the morning we heard from a variety of speakers, including Chris White MP who authored the Act, as well as colleagues from NCVO and NAVCA.

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council’s procurement team gave a really interesting presentation discussing how social value works for them and how they’d developed a cross-sector partnership board with the local VCS and the Chamber of Commerce to embed social value locally.

The afternoon workshop sessions were also interesting because it allowed us to hear from councils across England about their experiences of embedding social value; what they were struggling with, what was going well for them and what they’d like to do more of.

The picture was mixed – some authorities have appointed staff to lead on social value, or had developed toolkits and strategies for working with the VCS to embed it.

However, some mentioned that they didn’t fully understand the Act and hadn’t taken any steps towards implementing it.

Similarly when conducting our Annual Survey of Local Compacts in 2013 we asked respondents if they’d heard of the Social Value Act – 20% of voluntary sector respondents weren’t familiar with it, despite the potential opportunities it presents for the sector.

As a result, we’ve just published a new, practical guide to help voluntary organisations, local commissioners and Compact groups to understand more about social value.

Before the Act came into force in January 2013, Compact Voice published a guide to help local Compact groups understand more about the potential implications of the Act. We have updated and broadened the scope of this guidance significantly.

The new guidance explains some of the more technical details of the Social Value Act in a clear, accessible way, and discusses what social value is and how it can be interpreted and applied.

There are now two distinct sections: one to assist local authorities with understanding, engaging with, implementing and measuring social value, and another section that deals with the same issues but for the voluntary and community sector.

We’ve also highlighted how the Compact and local Compact groups can be used as a tool to engage with the wider voluntary and community sector in your area.

Finally, we have included some good practice case studies and lots of signposting to other useful resources so you are able to access a variety of information as you need it.   

I’d encourage voluntary organisations or local authority reps who want to know more about social value (or develop a social value strategy) to take a look at the guidance and pass it around.
If you’d like us to send you a hard copy please get in touch.
We’re always interested to hear of good practice in how different areas have used the social value act, are promoting it or embedding it in their processes – please do get in touch if you have a story to share for others to learn from.

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