11 October, 2015

Procurement and Social Value: A White Paper for Wandle

The drive toward achieving social value is relatively new to the housing sector – HACT launched the Social Value Bank just last year. As community investment teams try to get their heads around social value and the necessary step of evaluation, services in other parts of housing associations are already being procured that consider and in some cases deliver, social value.

The legislation that has driven the move toward procuring social value in contracts is intentionally vague. The stated aim of lawmakers is that procuring organisations should be allowed the space to contract services that meet a flexible range of needs1. This provides an invaluable opportunity for housing associations to be creative in procurement maximising social value where appropriate. However, procurement teams are restricted by legislation, and must ensure contractors are treated equally throughout the process (Section ll).

As a result of this legal environment and varying needs across the housing sector, a number of approaches have emerged (Section III). In some cases, housing associations have taken the lead in procuring services; others have drawn on the support of larger organisations, which may help with cost-effectiveness, both in the procurement process and being able to access better deals with contractors.

Where HACT has engaged with contractors involved in the housing sector, there has been a surprising desire to learn how social value can be maximised (Section IV). Rather than having to push contractors to offer and deliver social value, it is often the contractor that is asking how best they can deliver value.

Despite the best intentions of both housing associations and contractors, there are key challenges around contract management and accountability (Section V). These challenges can partly be attributed to the lack of widely understood forms of measurement (Section VI).

HACT will be looking to bridge this gap by using the experience of innovating in social impact measurement and partnering with Trowers and Hamlins and Echelon Consultants to ensure the best legal advice and market engagement experience respectively is available to the sector.

In the meantime, the example of Your Housing Group in Anfield provides an exceptional blueprint for working with the tools and approaches currently available.

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Procurement and Social Value: A White Paper for Wandle

PUBLISHED: October 2015

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