Translating Social Value into Responsible Business

At a time when the State is shrinking in size and coverage it does not have the resources to address holistically the social, economic and environmental well-being of the people and places that it serves. So, on the part of the public sector, that means learning to describe and specify services with a range of outcomes that are more comprehensive than might have previously been procured. On the part of the private sector it could mean not just responding to public procurement exercises. Indeed there is the possibility of proactively seeking ways to demonstrate its responsibility as a business through delivering its contracts in ways that provide evidence of enhanced value where the public sector lacks the capacity to request it. Reputation enhancement is at the heart of this as the desired outcome is to be recognised as the “go to” collaborator.

For the private sector, this means learning a number of skills. Adam Wilkinson has already done much to assist businesses to identify the social and economic impact of their activities. In their relationship with the public sector, especially where there is a commissioning-contracting relationship, in order to maximise the economic, social and environmental impact of their services, the private sector needs to:

  • Understand how to determine what are the policy priorities of the commissioning authority – this is important as they can weave these into the subject matter of their offer – this needs to be analysed at an EU, national and local level;
  • Express within the service offer what further benefits can be achieved for no additional cost – and how these can be usefully measured;
  • Develop their wider offer where the commissioning authority does request social, economic and environmental benefits as part of the service package;
  • Develop its own capacity but also a supply chain from the SME, social enterprise and charity sector that enables it to increase its effectiveness in contract delivery where there is opportunity to maximise social value;
  • Play back to the public sector how the wider offer reflects the Public Services (Social Value) Act in England and equivalent measures in the rest of the UK;
  • Increase the innovation in its offer and delivery by engaging in pre-procurement engagement with the marketplace and also in current contracts seeing what scope there is for creativity especially where the public purse is constrained;
  • Provide the bridge for all sector collaboration in circumstances where the public sector does not have the resource to be as creative as it could and the “Third Sector” does not have the financial covenant to compete purely in its own name.

How we can help

  • Equipping- Advising and training the organisation in embedding a strategic approach often reviewing and restructuring their CSR policy and process.
  • Facilitation- brokering relationships with the public sector and the “Third Sector” and translating these into innovative collaboration;
  • Verification- providing tools for meaningful measurement of social value that both meets the requirements of the commissioning authority and can go further that the State can ask for, particularly in the arena of “local” impact.

 

The proposition

Anthony Collins solicitors and Adam Wilkinson (Lm3online) have complementary skills and a common view of how social value can permeate public services. We are developing a joint approach to assisting the private sector first, then the public sector and then the “Third Sector”, to develop a coherent strategy to social value in the delivery of public services.  At the heart of this is the desire to assist the private sector to move away from Corporate Social Responsibility as a secondary strand in its activities to embracing Responsible Business in the heart of its services, particularly those in the public sphere. This requires the private sector to develop an informed approach to public sector / Government priorities that is as good as and potentially better than the public sector demands or delivers.

The new report below highlights some of the issues that lie at the heart of our new integrated approach