Whitehall buyers will be required to take social value into account in contracts by summer 2019 under measures to be announced by Cabinet Office minister David Lidington.
In a speech today Lidington will say contracts should be used as a “force for good”, supporting small businesses, providing employment for disadvantaged people and reducing environmental harm.
He is expected to say: “Public services should be delivered with values at their heart… it is right that we use government’s purchasing power to benefit society.”
Lidington will also say key suppliers are drawing up “living wills” under which alternative firms take over services in the event of a business failure.
Capita, Serco and Sopra Steria will complete living wills “within weeks with other suppliers set to follow”.
Lidington will say: “Carillion was a complex business and when it failed it was left to government to step in – and it did. But we did not have the benefit of key organisational information that could have smoothed the management of the liquidation.
“By ensuring contingency plans can be quickly put in place in the very rare event of supplier failure, we will be better prepared to maintain continuity of critical public services.”
The government will also announce that it will publish new data, “not seen before”, about the performance of critical contracts, such as response rates and whether they are delivering on time. The government’s Supplier Code of Contact is to be “reviewed and enhanced”.
In June Lidington announced changes to beef up the Public Services (Social Value) Act and training for 4,000 buyers.
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