4.1 Social value
An increasingly important aspect of contracts in the UK is that they require organisations to specify their ‘social value’. Compact Voice, talking about the English experience, describes social value as:
additional valuecreated in the delivery of a service contract which has a wider community or public benefit – this extends beyond the social value delivered as part of the primary contract activity. For example, a homelessness organisation funded to provide hostel space for the homeless may create additional value by providing routes into employment and training for its service users.
This is a move away from awarding contracts based on lowest cost, and is of particular significance given the increasing pressure on public spending.
In theory, this move might enable voluntary organisations to win more contracts. But this needs to be weighed against the restrictions, and the additional workload and effort of contracts, as well as concerns about the loss of independence for the organisation.