The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, known as the Social Value Act, requires public authorities to have regard to economic, social and environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts. It was intended to improve the way taxpayers’ money is spent on public services by requiring people who commission public services to consider securing added economic, social or environmental benefits for their local area.
So how much value do Sussex local authorities give to social value?
Over the last year I have heard of a Sussex local authority apportioning 60% of their evaluation to social value. This is wonderful, and is a credit to that authority. BHT has submitted tenders for two contracts over the last year where no specific consideration was given to social value. I won’t say which was the commissioning body to save their blushes.
Today I was reading the scoring mechanism for another contract we are currently looking at (again I will spare their blushes) where 20% of the scoring of the tenders to be submitted will be on price – the financial value – and just 4% on social value. Yes, 4%.
I would like to hear from councillors whether they think this would be acceptable in their area? Do they care? Would they actually know if this was happening? Councillors really need to get a grip of this matter in order to get the best possible value for their communities. After all, it adds social value and doesn’t cost a penny of Council Tax!