Toolkit launched to promote social value in procurement

14 September 2016

A new toolkit has been launched to help local authorities obtain the most social value out of their public procurement.

The Social Value Maturity Index (SVMI) is a self-assessment tool allowing both public buyers and private suppliers to quantify how well they deliver social value. It automatically provides a tailored action plan and will allow companies to compare their progress with peers.

It was launched yesterday at an event in parliament attended  by public sector buyers, suppliers and Conservative MP Chris White, whose private member’s bill became the Social Value Act 2012.

The Act requires public sector procurers to consider the wider social, economic and environmental benefits they can secure through service contracts over a certain value.

However, a review last year by Lord Young found there were still barriers around awareness, understanding and adoption of the legislation.

“The starting point for the tool [was]… how do we get people to understand what’s good? How do we work out what’s good?” said Guy Battle, CEO of Social Value Portal, the social enterprise that assembled the toolkit.

Buyers answer a series of self-assessment questions on their performance around a set of themes including procurement, policy and scope, internal management, contract management, cross sector collaboration, collaboration within the local authority and governance and accountability.

“You do all this filling out and then you generate an action plan,” said Battle. “The idea is it then takes you through the steps… The tool is there to be used as a way of plotting your journey from where you are now to where you want to be.”

Social Value Portal has also launched two “bridging the gap” documents to help buyers implement change.

“What we’re trying to do here is promote best practice, because it is delivering real value. And what we’re finding is that some of the leading local authorities are using the act to encourage businesses to get more engaged… to unlock the inherent good of business,” said Battle. 

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