Councils ‘neglecting social value in contracts’
By Vivienne Russell | 2 August 2012
Almost half of English councils prefer to use their purchasing power to cut costs than to secure wider social benefits, a survey by accountants BDO has found.
The report, Social supply: a guide to improving social value through better purchasing
, also found that the vast majority of councils (83%) did not measure social value benefits in their existing procurement processes.
The 2010 Public Services (Social Value) Act required local authorities to give greater consideration to social or environmental outcomes when entering into procurement contracts.
More than 95 local authorities in England were polled for the research, which concluded that a longer-term strategic approach was needed for the Act to be implemented successfully. Collaborative relationships with suppliers were also necessary.
Andy Mahon, BDO partner and head of the local government team, said: ‘The new legislation provides an opportunity for councils to work more closely with suppliers and think more broadly about the potential benefits that contracts can deliver within local communities. We know from our daily conversations that suppliers are chomping at the bit to engage in this way.’
He added that there were many ‘untapped opportunities’ for councils to achieve more for less. ‘This legislation should act as a catalyst for changing the way the supply chain is managed rather than simply being viewed as another regulatory hurdle,’ Mahon said.
BDO’s report provides councils with practical guidance and examples of best practice.