One small step but change is on the way

_ Pauline Broomhead CBE _

Yesterday, the government announced a new social value model that will consider wider positive benefits when awarding contracts.

Pauline Broomhead CBE, founding CEO of the FSI and long-time champion of the UK’s vibrant small charity sector, responded:

“This is one small step, but it is clear that change is on the way. I believe that the changes announced by the government can have beneficial impacts for small charities and local community groups as they either bid independently or in collaboration for government contracts in the future.”

(Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash)

The government’s new approach will apply tests that all bidders, irrespective of their size and type, will be capable of meeting and that therefore this will level the playing field for the voluntary and community sector. The new social value model, which has been championed across government through the Crown Representative for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE), Claire Dove CBE, is a huge step forward and the hope is that this first step forward will lead to the adoption of the model by not only national but local government.

Using an assessment tool that has social value at its core can only be a benefit for our sector, a sector that also has social value at its core. The government has said that contracts where the social value model will be used for assessment purposes include:

· Supporting COVID-19 recovery, including helping local communities manage and recover from the impact of COVID

· Tackling economic inequality, including creating new businesses, jobs and skills, as well as increasing supply chain resilience

· Fighting climate change and reducing waste

· Driving equal opportunity, including reducing the disability employment gap and tackling workforce inequality Improving health and wellbeing and community integration.

The new measures launched on the 29th September 2020 will come into effect on 1st January 2021.

The Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran said: “This hugely positive change will ensure taxpayers’ money supports levelling up across the country, encouraging businesses to give back to their communities and offering more opportunities for our dedicated charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups. This way we can ensure government contracts are helping to tackle economic inequality and support our recovery.”

Broomhead, who serves on the VCSE Advisory Panel, added: “Leaders across the small charity sector know that using social value as a significant part of the assessment of contracts has been mooted in for years. I have been involved in discussions on this issue for many of those years and am delighted that now, finally, this is a positive and significant step forward. There is still a great deal to be done and the ‘levelling up’ agenda must also use this opportunity to level the playing field for small charities and local community groups across the UK, giving them access to contracts that improve the communities in which they play such a core role”.