Ensuring accountability to residents, tenants and local people
Ensuring accountability to residents, tenants and local people

Ensuring accountability to residents, tenants and local people

Providers must be accountable to residents, tenants and local people for the services they deliver, says Mears.

Earlier this year Mears commissioned the think tank Localis to review the Social Value Act and to recommend ways in which we can level the playing field when commissioning social value. The housing and social care provider did this because it felt many of its clients were struggling to fully incorporate the thinking of the Social Value Act into how they commission services. This has meant in turn that Commissioners have not always appointed supply chain partners with the right values, willing wherever they can to step up and help local communities. Mears felt a clearer framework was needed to help Commissioners evaluate social value submissions from their providers.

The public sector procurement community is bracing itself for an onslaught of tender responses to normal services as well as Covid-19 recovery contracts. Such professionals will be keen to ensure that their own actions in commissioning deliver not just economic efficiency and long-honoured ‘value for money’ but also promote community resilience and social wellbeing that has the potential to deliver and embed real social value in the recovery process.

This report offers a clear route map for realising the promise of social value.

Alan Long, Executive Director of Mears GroupAlan Long, Executive Director of Mears Group commented: “If we can’t get social value right for our communities now then we never will. It has been said that the COVID-19 pandemic could further highlight the divide in our communities. The housing sector, alongside local and national commissioners, has a golden opportunity to use the resources of the private sector for the public good.

“I commend this report for providing a clear platform for demonstrating social value to communities and will be speaking to colleagues in central government about how we can take these recommendations forward immediately. I will also be writing to senior colleagues across the housing sector to encourage them to join us for sector wide agreement — this is the time to take action — together.”

The report finds:

  • The lives of residents must measurably improve as a result of how councils commission and provide local public services.
  • It calls for a standardised approach to evaluating social value that would give communities a greater say in the benefits received in the commissioning of local public services from commercial suppliers.
  • The report calls for the public sector to adopt a Community Value Charter as a standard framework for setting place-sensitive local outcomes that build on inherent strengths such as social and natural capital
  • We call for a greater sense of human values, trust and relationship in how we generate value for our communities from the commissioning process.
  • Providers must be accountable to residents, tenants and local people for both the services they deliver, and the benefits agreed to when business contracts are signed.
  • These must be explained in a clear way — not through complex targets and opaque mechanisms. We must see strong actual proof in how effectively local services are provided as something which is reflected in the improved lived experience of people in our communities.

To download a copy of the report Brighten All Corners – maximising social value in place click here.

To download a copy of Mears Group’s latest social value report click here.

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