Social value is about maximising the impact of public expenditure. It looks at what is created, and sometimes what is forsaken, through a commissioning process. It is therefore also about what we value in the public realm.
Social value considers more than just the financial transaction. It includes:
These types of value often accrue to different people, communities or organisations and are not always easy to measure. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be part of a commissioning process.
In legislation and in practice
Social Value is now enshrined in legislation through the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. Read about the Act here. Navca is working with members and commissioners to bring the Bill to life, get in touch to see how we can help.
Free NAVCA learning events
Maximising Social Value, Free Learning Events for the Public Sector implementing the Social Value Act. Details, dates and locations on the event page.
Defining social value
Social value has no single agreed definition. Here are two:
"additional benefit to the community from a commissioning/procurement process over and above the direct purchasing of goods, services and outcomes."
The Social Value Commissioning Project conducted by North West NHS defines
"social value refers to wider non-financial impacts of programmes, organisations and interventions, including the wellbeing of individuals and communities, social capital and the environment. These are typically described as 'soft' outcomes, mainly because they are difficult to quantify and measure."
Measuring Social Value, Demos
Getting the most impact for £ spent
When 'purchasing' a public service, the headline figure of price might not seem the best value for money; however when wider social value is considered it could be much better value.
Where can social value purposefully be embedded into a commissioning process?
Find out more
- Read our latest briefings and discussion on social value
- Information on the Social Value Act
- Get in touch with the commissioning and procurement team
- Join the navcaboodle social value group (free login) for more resources, discussion and people interested in social value
Whats happening on social value around the country?
Further information on social value from around the country and the NAVCA membership.
- Report from South West Forum event on social value
- Social Value in Liverpool
- Social Value Toolkit, Croydon
A social value toolkit for commissioners developed by Croydon Council.
- Social Value Foundation
The Social Value Foundation builds on work in the north west between the region's voluntary sector and NHS North West.
Publications by others
- The Social Value Guide, Implementing the Act
Guide for commissioners and procurers by Social Enterprise UK and Anthony Collins solicitors.
- Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, a brief guide
Publication by Social Enterprise UK, with guidance if you are a commissioner and if you work in the non-profit sector.
- Maximising benefits for society through contracts for public services
A short briefing by Mark Cook from Anthony Collins solicitors for VODG
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