UK government policy urges businesses to improve social value

The UK government is implementing stricter policies for evaluating outsourced work, focusing on awarding contracts to small firms who demonstrate leadership in diversity, sustainability and human rights.

One of the biggest changes in government procurement in recent years, the move was announced at the Social Value Summit in London on Monday and focuses on ensuring social impact is considered, encouraging businesses to improve their policies if they hope to win government contracts.

According to the BBC, firms that have a diverse range of employees, “including those with disabilities and from ethnic minorities”, as well as businesses focused on combating modern slavery, and promoting sustainability will have a higher chance of winning government contracts. David Lidington, UK Cabinet Office minister highlighted the necessity to consider what is “morally right” when awarding taxpayer funded contracts.

"By making sure that these social values are reflected not just across the government, but through all the companies we work with, we will take a major step towards our goal of creating an economy that works for everyone”, he said.

Chair of Social Enterprise UK, Lord Victor Adebowale also weighed in, commending the move and highlighting that “social value should not be seen as a luxury in any part of the public or private sectors, but common sense. People expect modern government and business to ensure that all spending considers the needs of our society and environment. Social enterprises have been pioneers, but it is important that every sector follows.”

This shake-up comes as part of the broader aim of one thirds of all government contracts being awarded to small businesses by 2022.

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Sonja Duncan