Today I had the pleasure of speaking at a Social Investment Business fringe event at the Conservative Party conference about social value.  Twelve months ago I attended a similar event in Birmingham talking about Social Value and it would seem we are no further on with the conversation regarding the social value act which we have all eulogised about in recent years.

I am a strong supporter of the Social Value Act and have much admiration for its champions Chris White and Hazel Blears however with a mere 42% of social enterprises being aware of the bill how can we really point fingers at commissioners for not valuing the social value?

All this has got me thinking are we ‘barking up the wrong tree’. Surely social enterprises with public sector contracts should be championing social value with their commissioners? So what if every social enterprise holding a public sector contract negotiated social value metrics into their current live contracts ?

Would that change the social value landscape and shift the momentum back to commissioners?

At Social adVentures we have been working with the commissioners in Salford to create a Social Value Charter, which creates a shared understanding with commissioners on what Social Value is and how it can be measured, the next step is to ‘hard wire’ social value into our current contacts ! If all social enterprises did this surely it would make a massive impact with commissioners.  So what are we to do?

– Every commissioning organisation should have a co-produced Social Value Charter

– Every social enterprise should be negotiating Social Value into their live contacts and developing appropriate metrics

– Government should support all this by establishing a Centre for Social Value where good practice can be shared

In twelve months’ time I would like to be speaking about how social value has been embedded in every current live public sector contract rather than a moan-athon about commissioners and what that should or haven’t done.

Scott Darraugh is the Chief Executive of health and wellbeing spin-out, Social adVentures. He is a leading social entrepreneur and an influential voice in the social business sector. Scott has been active in pioneering change in public health services for over 10 years.