Why is this important?
The government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the UK, spending over £200 billion on procurement each year.
There is often a pressure to buy services or goods at the lowest possible cost but this can often result in missed opportunities to create real value in the community by creating employment and putting money back into the local economy. There are also further indirect benefits such as improving the feeling of wellbeing within the community, as well as reducing incidents of ill-health and cutting crime.
Adopting a social value approach can also drive efficiencies to deliver cost savings, while promoting economic growth and social wellbeing, and minimising environmental damage.
The concept of adding social value has secured wide support and can give those companies which operate responsibly, and place the needs of the local people at the heart of what they do, a competitive advantage.
Social value should be a seen as a way of delivering innovation and costs savings, not simply as the creation of positive social outcomes. It certainly shouldn’t be seen as a necessary box to tick in the procurement process.
A recent report produced by Social Enterprise UK highlighted that over half of the respondents agreed that delivering social value leads to cost savings. Over three quarters of respondents stated that delivering social value had led to an ‘improved image of their organisation’ and had led to ‘better community relations’.
Social Enterprise UK
The national body for social enterprise, which represents their members while helping grow the social enterprise movement. Their members include social enterprises, public sector bodies including local authorities and housing associations, charities, community groups and private sector businesses. From local grass-roots organisations to multi-million pound businesses, their members share a united commitment to changing the world through business.
“The construction industry is one of the strongest and most engaged areas SEUK work with on embedding social value. Building Social Value is a great way for the industry to record their activities and deliver ever greater value to the communities in which they operate.”
Director of Business & Enterprise, Social Enterprise UK