70 per cent of councils use Social Value Act

A LocalGov survey conducted in partnership with Morgan Sindall has revealed that seven out of 10 councils use the Social Value Act when commissioning or procuring services.

The most cited reason for using the Act was to encourage local people to gain employment or training, however, a fifth of local authorities admitted the Act was not being utilised at all to drive positive change

The survey identified that a lack of official monitoring was cited as the main reason that some councils were not using the Act when commissioning or procuring services by 47 per cent of respondents. More than two-thirds of councils also said they believe measuring social value is difficult.

The survey also indicated that 67 per cent of respondents believed councils play a key role in ensuring other organisations - such as social enterprises - embed social value in their own policies.

70 per cent of local authorities warned that communities were slipping down the government’s list of priorities.

Lyndsay Smith, director of education and frameworks at Morgan Sindall, a contractor delivering schools and municipal buildings, said: “People who are just about managing have become part of the political lexicon in recent months but it’s interesting that seven out of 10 local authorities feel communities have slipped down the list of priorities for central government. There are of course people who are faring worse than JAMs and really struggling.

“The survey results throw light on the fact that community cohesion is topping the list of concerns – there are some real pressure points out there. The findings show that some local authorities are using their buying power and the Social Value Act to meet some of these challenges – particularly around creating local jobs, apprenticeships and addressing skills gaps.

“From our perspective, there’s a lot more that needs to be done. Only one in three authorities report that the act is embedded and that social responsible procurement has become a way of working for them. Even four years in, many are still thinking about it or only lightly involved.”