Local government think tank Localis has launched a research project asking if the Government is providing social, economic and environmental benefits through public procurement of goods and services.
A panel of experts will examine whether the annual £284bn procurement budget – about a third of which is spent by local authorities – is delivering the full promise of the Social Value Act.
It will attempt to quantify the extent to which the impact of the legislation could be improved through better practice and more consistent implementation.
Currently the legislation only requires that public authorities and other commissioning bodies consider the social value component – which Localis says encourages an indirect approach to procurement and ‘nudging’ towards innovation in delivery of public services.
The Value of Everything project will explore the impact of the Social Value Act on the commissioning process, how social value is priced and whether there can be a uniform way of doing it.
Localis chief executive Jonathan Werran said the Social Value Act does not go far enough because it is too flexible and does not require social benefits to be implemented once a contract is awarded.
He said: 'How seriously do commissioners take social value prices and is this dependent on the model used or identity of the bidder?
'The Value of Everything will explore whether the Act has had a substantive impact in changing the outcomes of the commissioning process.'