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Public service commissioners urged to consider social value

Mon 04 Feb 2013

Service providers in the public sector are to be encouraged to think about how their services can benefit local people.

The government has unveiled its Public Services (Social Value) Act, which will require councils to consider what they can do to ensure public service contracts deliver a better outcome for the community.

Under the new system, this would have to be done before the actual procurement process gets underway.

The coalition is hopeful this could have a number of benefits beyond improving social value, such as making services more effective for local people and drive greater efficiency.

This could also give social enterprises more of a chance to get involved in delivering public services.

Nick Hurd, civil society minister, believes the draft legislation represents an "important step in encouraging public sector commissioners to think harder about maximising value to communities".

He added that it also reflects the government's commitment to making it easier for social enterprises and charities to "help deliver better public services".

Joanna Bussell, Lead Partner in Winckworth Sherwood’s Local Government Team commented: "Local authorities can have a significant impact on the social and economic wellbeing of their local communities in the way they commission their services. The new Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires local authorities to consult with their local communities before commissioning services.  This is a real opportunity for local communities to ensure that the services commissioned are responsive to their needs and wherever possible are provided locally.

"Winckworth Sherwood are providing advice and support to our local authority clients in relation to developing procurement strategies to take into account the requirements of the Act."

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