The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires all public bodies in England and Wales to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area. It asks public bodies to consider the ways that they could benefit society as part of each decision made. Social value requires officers to think about how they achieve outcomes in a more integrated way, rather than thinking about isolated services or services in the short term, this approach requires officers to consider long term costs, sustainability and how inclusion of additional social value outcomes can potentially reduce pressures in other areas.
1.1. Wealden District Council (WDC) embraces the spirit of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. Improving social, environmental and economic wellbeing will help support priorities to build community capacity and resilience. Therefore WDC will apply, as appropriate, the broad principles of social value to all commissioning and procurement arrangements, no matter whether the value of the goods or services exceeds or falls below the EU procurement monetary thresholds.
1.2. This Social Value Policy Statement outlines how WDC will embed social value and demonstrates the Council’s commitment to delivering social value benefits through its commissioning and procurement arrangements.
2.1. The term ‘social value’ refers to approaches which maximise the additional benefits that can be created through the delivery, procurement or commissioning of goods and services, above and beyond those directly related to those goods and services.
2.2. Wealden District Council recognises that social value is about maximising the impact of public expenditure. Social value is defined as ‘the additional benefit to the community from a commissioning / procurement process over and above the direct purchasing of goods, services and outcomes.¹
2.3. Social value describes the values and principles which inform our behaviours and approaches, namely:
- We will invest in ways that most benefit our local communities.
- We will use ‘community sourcing’ approaches as a means of regenerating local communities, both socially and economically.
- We recognise that civic enterprise solutions involving communities, the council and business offer a practical and positive alternative.
- We value and intend to grow our relationship with the voluntary and community sector and small businesses; and
- We will focus attention on the economy and the real strengths and capacities of our communities.
3.1. WDC officers and all those involved in externally sourcing contracts will consider, as part of commissioning and the pre-procurement stage:
- How what is to be procured may improve the social, environmental and economic well-being of a relevant area;
- How they might secure any such improvement; and
- Whether there is a need to undertake consultation on these matters.
3.2. It is recognised that there can be no ‘one size fits all’ model. Under the requirements of the Act consideration needs only be given to ‘matters that are relevant to what is proposed to be procured and, in doing so, commissioners must consider the extent to which it is proportionate’ and so tailored to reflect the service or goods to be procured.
3.3. It is the role of the officers and procurement business partners to consider, on a contract by contract basis, the potential social value outcomes that could be delivered through the procurement process and the most appropriate procurement strategy to achieve this.
3.4. Officers will be expected to evidence that social value has been considered as part of the Procurement Initiation stage.
3.5. Social value priorities for the commissioned service area should be embedded throughout procurement activity and be clear in adverts and tender specifications. Officers and Procurement Business Partners will be responsible for agreeing social value criteria, as well as being open and transparent in terms of defining how social value elements will be weighted in the evaluation and decision-making processes.
3.6. As appropriate, local communities should be engaged in shaping / deciding what is important to them, as well as engaging with the market to understand their ideas for how they can contribute to social value.
3.7. The manner in which evidence of social value outcomes are to be provided is not prescribed by the Act or this policy. Dependent on the requirements of each procurement exercise, WDC may choose to specify requirements explicitly within a tender or ask potential providers to come up with their own innovative ideas.
3.8. Applications to provide services from organisations should demonstrate their and, where appropriate, their supply chains’, ability to add economic, social and environmental value above and beyond simply providing the tendered service and provide evidence demonstrating this.
3.9. Measures should be put in place to ensure that agreed social value activity is monitored and tracked as part of any contracting arrangements.
3.10. To improve transparency, wherever possible and practicable, steps should be taken to enable WDC to report centrally on added social value achieved across the Local Authority through commissioning and procurement arrangements.
3.11. Examples of best practice from both within the Local Authority and other local authorities should be developed to inform future commissioning activity.
4.1. Developing employment, skills and training opportunities, particularly for hard to reach/target groups.
Examples: Providing mentoring support, apprenticeships, work shadowing, volunteer opportunities for individuals not in employment, education and training, children in care and care leavers, and long term unemployed. Supporting skills development/progression and better quality employment.
4.2. Improving health and wellbeing, maintaining independence and reducing inequalities of local residents and employees.
Examples: Setting up employee health and wellbeing schemes, supporting initiatives which encourage individuals and communities to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
4.3. Helping build community capacity and playing an active role in the local community, especially in those areas and communities with the greatest need.
Examples: Allowing community groups to use premises / facilities, allowing employees to volunteer or be trustees, providing specialist pro bono business support to organisations.
4.4. Creating opportunities for micro-providers, the voluntary sector, small and medium enterprises to be part of supply chains which support Wealden District Council priorities and service delivery.
Examples: Investing in local suppliers, organisations and communities.
5.1. The social value approach includes procurement of goods as well as services. The outcomes we intend to deliver through this approach include:
- Increasing the proportion of services and goods provided locally.
- Supporting the creation of jobs, skills and training opportunities.
- Promotion of opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), social enterprises and voluntary and community organisations.
- More ‘social innovation’ across the district.
- Value for money – through capturing longer term savings for the council as a whole.
- Better connections across services, with a greater understanding of how services interact to support outcomes and impact on the wider community.
- Growing the social sector to increase its overall size and capacity.
- Savings through reductions in demand across a range of service areas.
- Increased community-led activity, resilience and local problem solving.
5.2. Key features of our approach are:
- Local spend and provision.
- Commissioning for social value.
‘Community sourcing’ (making better connections between public services and communities, focusing attention on the strengths and capacities of our communities).
- Procuring for social value.
- Service diversification.
- Improving cross service connections.
- Embedding social value in new policy development.