#BridgingTheGap - 1st National Social Value Conference

Today we are supporting the first National Social Value Conference, organised by the Social Value Portal.  The theme of this conference is #BridgingTheGap between the public sector, the private sector, VCSEs and our communities

Theresa Grant, Chief Executive of Trafford Council, the host authority for STAR Procurement will be part of the keynote panel at today’s conference and Lorraine Cox, our Director of Procurement is helping to deliver a ‘deep dive’ into Social Value and Devolution in one of the afternoon workshops, alongside Peter Wilding, Head of Strategy at the GMCA

The Social Value Portal has identified 6 myths about Social Value which it hopes this conference will help to bust; these can be distilled into:

1. The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 has no substance on which to base policy
2. Social Value cannot be measured or compared in the awarding of contracts
3. Implementing social value leads to higher contract prices
4. Social Value is too complicated for SMEs and VCSEs to understand/articulate/deliver
5. It’s not worth the effort for local authorities to pursue this additional gain
6. Suppliers only think about their bottom line

STAR has been successfully orchestrating the delivery of Social Value through procurement across its three Councils and wider partner organisations over the past few years, building on the GMCA Social Value Policy published in 2014, to which all 10 GM Authorities are signatories.   We have supported each of our Councils to articulate what Social Value means to their own communities, informing suppliers’ submissions when tendering for the Councils’ business.  This guidance for suppliers is available on our website in a bid to support any businesses wanting to understand how to improve their tender submissions

In terms of busting those myths, STAR thinks it is succeeding.  The GMCA and each STAR Council has set out quite clearly a series of Social Value policies based directly on the Act.  We are successfully measuring and reporting to our Councils on Social Value at contract award.  Tender prices are not increasing and STAR is continuing to deliver documented savings across the range of procurement activity undertaken.   Engagement with SMEs and VCSEs is increasing year on year and STAR is delivering the Social Value message at a range of workshops aimed at upskilling the local supply market.  Capturing Social Value is high on the agenda of our Councils and the innovation we are seeing is coming from the supply market itself

As Guy Battle, CEO of the Social Value Portal notes,

“Social Value Act is delivering enormous benefits to those who are applying it well. There is now clear evidence that embedding social value into commissioning and procurement unlocks more value, does not cost more, will ultimately lead to costs savings and ensures that the best businesses are rewarded with the opportunity of working with the public sector”

We hope all those attending today’s Conference come away with a renewed ambition to use the opportunity which the Act provides and increase the gain that can be had in all communities from expenditure from the local public purse!

Posted on Tuesday 14th November 2017