Social Value Act should drive better business impact in local communities
22 March 2013
The Social Value Act should drive change in local communities by encouraging business to more closely consider the social impact of their procurement decisions, according to Deloitte, the business advisory firm.
The Act, which requires public sector authorities to assess the social, economic and environmental impact of companies being awarded contracts, can make it easier for small businesses and charities to enter public sector supply chains. It should also encourage larger companies to work innovatively with small business and support local communities.
Speaking at a briefing, organised by Salford and Eccles MP Hazel Blears, to encourage UK businesses and public sector bodies jointly to embrace the Act, Heather Hancock, managing partner of Talent and Brand at Deloitte, said: “We fully support the principles of the Social Value Act and have already seen the benefits this can bring within our own business. We have a long history of working with charities and social enterprises in the delivery of services, and have seen excellent results from encouraging new organisations delivering exceptional social value in our own supply chain.
“For example, six of the social businesses from the Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers* and Business in the Community’s Arc programme entered the firm’s supply chain over the past six months, with four more to be announced soon. These enterprises meet the service requirement we expect from any supplier, but also deliver demonstrable social value, excite our people and present innovative opportunities to engage with our clients. Looking only at the bottom line when considering your supply chain is a false economy and does not consider the wider impact - something we all share responsibility to protect and improve.”
Also speaking at the event were the Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP and Chris White MP, who worked closely together in bringing the Social Value Act to fruition. Blears, an advocate for the move for several years, argues that the Act will create a level playing field for small businesses that will stimulate local economies and communities.
She said: “We passionately believe that both the public and private sectors can improve business practice by consulting their local community and involving them in running services. This can be done, for instance, by employing local people or by using small firms and social enterprises in supply chains. We want to see councils, hospitals and other public authorities seize the opportunity provided by the Social Value Act to ensure the contracts they award help to improve people’s lives. The Act also gives social enterprises and companies of all sizes the chance to grow, expand and secure new contracts that may have been out of reach previously.
“It is vital that firms embed social value into their mainstream business models - helping local communities will no longer be an optional extra but integral to their success.”
The Deloitte and Veolia event was organised to brief the firm’s clients, corporate responsibility professionals, small businesses and charities. An expert panel, which consisted of Hazel Blears, Chris White, Deloitte, Veolia Environmental Services, Social Enterprise UK and Business in the Community, debated how the Act would be implemented and whether it could have an impact across the UK. Social enterprises, small businesses and charities spoke of their ambitions for the Act, their reservations about whether procurement functions had the understanding necessary to assess social value, and discussed the practical realities of entering a large company’s supply chain.
One of the Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers to recently enter the firm’s supply chain is Autism Works. The social enterprise specialises in software testing and primarily employs people with autism to deliver those services. Earlier this month they signed an agreement with Deloitte to offer their services as part of the firm’s own software testing business.
Peter Macdonald, managing director at Autism Works, said: “We’re delighted to be delivering our services to Deloitte, and with their continued support to help us grow in volume and expanding into other corporate supply chains. Together, we deliver exceptional quality services by extraordinary talented people. Accessing opportunities with Deloitte will help us to continue to grow and employ more people with Autism. These are truly exciting and innovative times for both our organisations.”
Notes to editors:
Speaking at the business briefing and available for comments was:
Hazel Blears MP
Contact: Rob.email@example.com / 0161 737 7169
Chris White MP
Contact: Andrew O’Brien at 0207 219 3413
Heather Hancock, managing partner, Talent and Brand, Deloitte
Contact: Zcooper@deloitte.co.uk / 0207 007 4216
Estelle Brachlianoff, CEO of Veolia Environmental Services
Contact: Caroline.firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7812 5038
Peter Holbrook, CEO Social Enterprise UK
** Deloitte Social Innovation Pioneers are 30 socially innovative businesses from across the UK who are provided them with a package of support to help them mainstream, go to scale and become investment-ready. This programme forms part of our wider responsible business agenda and our continuing positioning around innovation and entrepreneurship. We want to develop our skills and expertise by partnering with leading social businesses and social business experts, and also give our people the opportunity to get involved in this growing sector.
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.
Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.
The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.