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Seven in 10 believe social value has added benefits

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Making social value a factor in procurement decisions has improved services in seven out of 10 cases, according to research.

A survey of council and housing association leaders found that 71% believed delivering social value had benefited service users.

The Social Value Act came into force on 31 January last year requiring commissioners to consider social, environmental and community benefits when appointing suppliers.

Many respondents to the survey – commissioned by Wates Living Space; PwC; the Chartered Institute of Housing; and Orbit Group – said social value had also cut costs and improved quality.

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of membership body Social Enterprise UK, said: “The findings in this report are very good news and clearly demonstrate that integrating social value can bring a wide range of benefits to local authorities and housing associations and the communities in which they operate.

“It shows social value can be viewed as a strategy for innovation and cost savings, not just as the creation of positive social outcomes or, at worse, compliance to the act.”

More than half of those polled said measurement of social value was the main barrier to implementing the Social Value Act; and two-thirds said they would like further guidance on this.

The report made five recommendations for local authorities and housing associations:

  1. Adopt a written policy and a nominated lead for social value
  2. View social value as a route to innovation and cost savings
  3. Integrate and consider social value across all services, regardless of size
  4. Work with, buy from, start up and support social enterprises
  5. Measure the social value being created
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