Crown Commercial Services – Getting Serious About Social Value

The Procurement Policy team headed by Sam Rowbury is the ultimate UK lead on policy matters, from negotiations in Brussels through to issuing guidance to UK contracting authorities on relevant issues. It sits within Crown Commercial Services (CCS), which is a little odd as it has a policy and regulation role really. CCS is largely a “delivery” organisation, and in our view the more logical home for the policy group would be Cabinet Office.

What the current “home” does mean is that we have a somewhat ironic situation where some of the key goals that the policy group promotes more widely have historically not perhaps been top of CCS’s own agenda. Social value is a case in point. Whilst it is a topic of more interest to local government generally than central, CCS does have many clients in the wider public sector, including local councils. But CCS has not historically placed much emphasis on social value in its own contracts and frameworks.

This is now changing, and at the recent Procurex South event at Olympia, we heard from David Gigg of CCS and Terry Brewer of Harrow Council speaking about social value. Gigg has returned to CCS after a couple of years on secondment to a very worthwhile third-sector organisation, and is leading the efforts to make sure CCS itself follows good practice and supports the various “policy through procurement” issues that the policy unit promotes. We have known him for many years, and he will without a doubt take this agenda forward successfully – it’s a good and sensible appointment.

We have published a more detailed review of the Gigg and Brewer Procurex presentation here on our Public Spend Forum Europe website if you’re interested. You can also take a look at the recent “Social value policy statement” issued by CCS here.  Here is a quick extract – it goes on to lay out a number of measures CCS plans to take.

“Social value legislation requires buyers of public sector services to consider whether there are related social, economic or environmental benefits that can be delivered through the contract.

We are committed to being a leader in social value and want you to be confident that we always have the right commercial solutions in place to help you deliver real benefits -whether that is creating more apprenticeships, reducing carbon emissions in your local area or your own unique local priorities”.

Good stuff – and we’ll be interested to see how this all progresses over the coming months.

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