Social care charities have called for local government commissioners to give greater consideration to the wider benefits that voluntary sector bidders can bring.
Umbrella body the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) says in a report published today that the government’s Social Value Act has fallen short of its intention to boost charities’ inclusion in procurement.
It says: “Although the Social Value Act 2012 encouraged commissioners to consider the wider social, economic and environmental impact of care services, in reality its impact has been limited.”
The report, Above and Beyond, says the social impact of voluntary sector providers of social care “needs to be more widely acknowledged” among local authority commissioners.
It gives examples of some of the wider community development initiatives some social care charities provide.
The report adds that another benefit of social care charities is that they are “funded through an eclectic range of mechanisms including charitable sources, donors, investors, the organisation’s own resources and lots of good will.”
Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of VODG, said: “Above and Beyond makes a compelling case for greater recognition of the transformative role that voluntary sector organisations play in the lives of disabled people.”
Act under review
In March, the government announced that it had strengthened the Social Value Act to require national public sector commissioners, apart from the NHS, to “explicitly evaluate” social value rather than just to consider it.
It is currently consulting on measures that would see the introduction of an “evaluation model” to test whether social value is being adequately incorporated into central government procurement.
As part of this, the government also plans to train all its 4,000 commercial buyers in how to design procurement to deliver social value “effectively and efficiently”.
The consultation closes on 10 June.