Private Member’s Bill aims to help third sector bids
By NIck Mann | 2 February 2012
Legislation making it easier for social enterprises and charities to bid for public sector contracts could be passed by spring 2012, according to the MP responsible for introducing it to the Houses of Parliament.
Chris White told Public Finance that his Public Services (Social Value) Bill would create a ‘level playing field’ by requiring public sector commissioners to take into account the environmental, social and economic value social enterprises create ‘above and beyond’ service need.
The Private Member’s Bill, which is about to have its second reading in the House of Lords, also includes what White said was a ‘much wider but fairer’ definition of value for money.
‘I believe that this will aid social enterprises to win contracts and defend them better against large private organisations undercutting them on price alone,’ he added.
White, who is Conservative MP for Warwick and Leamington, said the Bill would complement a new directive on public procurement that was published in draft form by the European Commission shortly before Christmas.
Alex Massey, policy officer for the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Associations, told PF: ‘We certainly hope they complement each other, there are valuable things in both.’
In particular, he highlighted plans in the directive that could make social services contracts more accessible to social enterprises by raising the threshold below which certain administration and reporting burdens do not apply.
Neena Bhati, European & international officer for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, told PF the directive would be ‘particularly relevant for groups of third sector providers’.