What is social value and why is it important for the education sector?

When the Social Value Act launched in 2013, it triggered a number of changes in how the public sector buys goods and services. 52% of Public Sector organisations mentioned that including social value in their procurement led to cost savings. Therefore, there is a great opportunity for schools, colleges and universities to benefit from the relationship with their suppliers.
Chris White, the MP behind the Act, explains:
“We mean ‘value’ not in its narrow [financial] sense but in its true sense – recognising the importance of social, environmental and economic well-being across our communities and in our lives”.
Therefore, the act encourages public authorities to consider wider social and environmental benefits when purchasing services, and not only focus on the balance between price and quality.

So how does it work in the education sector?

When signing a new contract, a school can ask its prospective suppliers to consider what they could offer to support the local community, such as: training, apprenticeships, work placements or purely providing career advice and information for young people on specific careers.
In order for this to be possible in the education sector, there needs to be a change in the mindset of the decision makers; to actively challenge suppliers and drive change for the benefit of the wider community.
The good news is that some schools, colleges and universities are already a leading example developing strategies, policies, charters and making a commitment to delivering social value through their procurement.
If you would like to know more details about how you could include social value in your procurement, contact us.

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