Social Value Act

Proving your social value - use the Social Enterprise Mark!


Anne Mountjoy attended SE UK's Social Value Conference recently, designed to help public bodies and social enterprises prepare for the commencement of the Public Services (Social Value) Act in January 2013. Under the Public Services (Social Value) Act, for the first time, all public bodies in England and Wales are required to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the area. 

Messages coming out of the conference included:

The Act is not being centrally driven and is very much subject to local pressure;
The Act is the start of a culture shift which will take time to be realised;
It aims to enable long term change but needs relentless local pressure - stamina will be needed as the Act needs to change attitudes;
There are many ways of demonstrating social value but there is not one recommended common benchmark;
Next May there will be local elections - so a good time to ask your public bodies how they are or will incorporate the Act;
The Act is applicable at and above these thresholds: Central Government £113k and Local Government £173k;
Build a case for the additional value that you deliver - to prove affordability and value for money in response to meeting 'best value';
The private sector will be gearing up to show their social value so there is a strong need to differentiate your organisation;
There is a need to understand local issues and priorities, then respond to these when demonstrating your added social value.

Words of wisdom:
Think partnership and shared agenda. Highlight how your work and your social impact solves their needs;
Think 'disruptive innovator' - to turn the market on its head;
Focus on the needs and wants of the individual. Social enterprises are closer to communities and individuals than anyone else.  You can maximise on this, as no-one can do it as well.

The Social Enterprise Mark is the only guarantee which proves social enterprise credentials. It provides a guarantee that 50-100% of profits are used to improve society and the environment.  By becoming a certified Mark holder you can use it to prove your social impact.  We are currently planning case studies for Mark holders to emulate as part of our forthcoming 'value in your values' campaign. Watch this space!