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The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012

Published by Yvonne Atkinson on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 at 17:12 pm

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 comes into force this month. It introduces a statutory requirement for local authorities, alongside other public bodies, such as housing associations and ALMOs to the consider the economic, social and environmental well-being of their areas of benefit when procuring services. The aim of the Social Value Act is to empower organisations across the sector to secure ‘added value’ and foster wellbeing as part of the commissioning process.

The social housing sector has always broadly been concerned with the ‘Added Social Value’ created by the organisation beyond the landlord services themselves. However this has not usually been reported or acknowledged. In the past housing organisations have not measured the social value created. The impression this creates is that the social value was not seen as being important by regulators boards or tenants – or the government.

Now there has been a shift in thinking and the Act recognises the power of a commissioning system that factors in Social Value.

“If you treasure it measure it,” said the former head of the Civil Service Gus MacDonnell. So there is a new requirement under the Social Value Act and by the regulator and best value statutory guidance for both local authority landlords and HCA registered providers - to measure and assess the social value created.

This brings new challenges for social housing and other public sector bodies. Firstly the need to review policies, train staff, board members and tenants and embed social value in performance measurement. This brings with it the necessity for measuring tools and techniques that calculate or evidence this value.

In this series of articles we will address topical issues that arise about social value like measurement or under the Act, the HCA regulations, the Statutory Guidance and the EU public procurement regulations to help organisations navigate through this new territory.

We are also inviting social housing landlords to undertake a survey of social value creation and measurement in the sector to establish a snapshot view of the sector before the Act comes into force. To undertake the survey go to

Yvonne Atkinson is a Director of the Board Development Agency. For more information about the BDA and its services on social value visit:




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