Review of the Social Value Act

A review of the Social Value Act by Lord Young has recommended that the Act should not be extended and strengthened.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires commissioners to consider whether they can secure added economic, social or environmental benefits when awarding contracts. Sector bodies have called for the Act to be strengthened because of concerns that it has not been widely adopted.

The review identified three barriers to realising the potential of the act:

  • Awareness and take up is mixed;
  • There is a lack of definition for ‘social value’; and
  • That measurement of social value is not fully developed.

It recommends that the government do more to increase awareness of the Act and the practicalies of applying it. Inspiring Impact has been asked lead a new group to look at ways of measuring social value.  It also suggests that there be a follow up review in two years time.

When the Act was introduced the threshold for applying it was linked to European Union procurement thresholds, which were €134,000 (£99,000) for contracts offered by central government and €207,000 (£153,000) for other public bodies.

The EU procurement threshold is set to rise to €750,000 and the government has accepted Young’s suggestion that there be an amendment to the Act to prevent this from affecting the Social Value Act thresholds.