By Andrew Holt

Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) has launched the Social Value Guide, designed to help local authorities and other public bodies prepare for the Social Value Act ahead of its implementation in January 2013.

The guide, produced in association with Anthony Collins Solicitors, is aimed at commissioners and procurement officials, and explains how the Act was shaped, why it’s important for local government, and offers practical guidance on how social value can be embedded into commissioning and procurement.

The guide’s release coincides with the Social Value Conference, held yesterday at social enterprise Coin Street Community Builders in London’s Southbank.

The event, hosted by SEUK in partnership with the Local Government Association and the NHS Confederation, brought together civil servants, commissioners, social enterprises and public sector leaders and support bodies, to share best practice on selling and commissioning social value.

Chris White MP, the Act’s author, along with SEUK, led the campaign for the Social Value Act which received royal ascent in March 2012.

The Act calls on public bodies in England and Wales to factor in social value when awarding contracts.

Peter Holbrook, CEO Social Enterprise UK, said at the Social Value Conference: “We’re doing everything we can to help public bodies gear up for the Act’s implementation.

"It’s set to transform the way public services are commissioned and delivered across the UK so it’s critical that local authorities are fully aware of its implications and consider what it means for the way they run their local services.

“It requires smart procurement and new ways of commissioning that help get social value in the DNA of local government practices. If social value is fully embedded in public service procurement, the public sector’s purchasing power can be used to achieve social and environmental benefits alongside financial efficiency.

“The Social Value Guide is designed to provide commissioners, procurement officials and providers with access to the support they need to implement the Act effectively.”

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