Procurement Pressure Cooker – Social Value Boot Camp 16 March 2016

Can We Deliver on Cost, Service and True Social Value?

Great  outcomes make a real difference to the lives of people who are in the most need.

The way we commission and deliver services can change lives (perhaps not least for the procurement team). The Social Value provisions of the Public Services Act (2012) are a little understood and much underestimated way of commissioning for real outcomes AND meeting budgets. They can go far beyond providing a few apprenticeships or work placement places as part of a contract to the point where they make a difference to communities throughout their delivery and provide on-going benefits once they are completed.

The face of local government has changed beyond recognition, staff reductions and cost cutting pulling in one direction and increasing demand on services pulling in the other, stretch resources to the limit. In these situations procurement teams tasked with getting best value might become solely focused on cost. It can leave them in an unenviable position demonized by their supply chain partners and service users alike.

As cuts continue to skin to the bone, all the fat is gone; skeletal services deliver to the letter of contracts but not to the satisfaction of their beneficiaries. Some commissioners have been leveraging the Public Services Act provisions to work in a different way. Where Local Authorities and service providers build partnerships based on real social value and outcomes that deliver for their communities everybody can benefit.

The incorporation of services user outcomes, metrics and continuous improvement into procurement means benefits are delivered where they are needed. Integrated Reporting gives Service Managers a means to measure outcomes demonstrate success and remedy potential failures before they bite where it hurts most.

There have been a number of efforts by central government, social enterprise umbrella groups and academics to raise awareness and get commissioners to leverage the act for better outcomes none so far have hit the sweet-spot engaging all stakeholders to show the real examples where partnerships are making a difference. The best services are often built on a mix of commercial, social and charitable provision utilising the best providers in each discipline. The differences in priorities and approach of these varied service models can seem irreconcilable.

Uprise Policy Forum and The Social Value Portal are bringing together leaders from all these sectors for a conference that promises to give procurement teams a real insight into best practice in implementing the act for the benefit of the communities they serve. Procurements teams will leave the day long interactive conference with a bespoke workbook on how to commission successfully using the Act, how to build effective partnerships, understanding how to measure outcomes, how to incorporate Integrative Reporting techniques and how to tell the stories of success, with workshops, case studies and panels from a team of industry leaders.

Uprise CEO Steve Darragh says “This event will take a practical approach to implementing the Act for commissioner and providers. It gives them the tools to be able to purchase services that meet budgets, deliver real value and continuously improve the communities they serve.”

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