Landmarc Support Services, (Landmarc) and Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) have joined forces to produce a social value whitepaper based on the findings from their first UK Social Value Summit held earlier this year. It calls for specialised training and support and for a central place to collate good practice and information.

It has been over 12 months since the launch of the Public Services (Social Value) Act and to celebrate this milestone, business leaders and campaigners came together to review its success and plan for the future at the Summit. The actions and recommendations within the report were collated following these discussions and workshops which took place at Dartington Hall on 28-29 January 2014.

Nick Temple, Director of Business at Social Enterprise UK, said, “In one year the Act has lit a touch-paper but there is still much to do if its potential is to be realised. The Summit was a great opportunity to discuss what is needed with colleagues from across sectors in order to positively change the way business is done and to create opportunities for social enterprises and charities.”

The white paper concludes that there has been some progress with regards to uptake of the Act since it came into force, but that awareness and engagement remain key challenges. A recent SEUK survey found that 81 per cent of commissioners had taken steps to identify social value criteria, but awareness is still a critical and important first step, and is still low amongst key decision-makers.

There are a growing number of pioneers in different sectors taking up the Act and providers are taking social impact measurement more seriously: Landmarc itself produced a social value report last year, ‘The Landmarc Difference’.

Mat Roberts, Head of Sustainability at Landmarc, said, “Social value is not just about working with social enterprises, it is about understanding how you can create social value as a business. Sometimes it is more worthwhile working with a local SME in a small rural community than a social enterprise from the next city. It is about localisation as well as social purpose.

“As social value is largely location-based, we need to look at innovative new forms of data capture – such as geo-spatial mapping of supply chains against areas of deprivation – or social value scorecards measuring the net change in social value from a particular contract or relationship.

“What is made clear by the white paper is the need for a higher-level roundtable to set frameworks around government, business and the social sector, led by someone such as Social Enterprise UK or the Business Services Association.

“Although there is a big focus on training procurement and business development staff on the importance of social value, there also needs to be much more emphasis on the training of those working in operations. Ultimately there needs to be a social value commissioning academy that brings both commissioners and providers together for training and advice, in order to bring people up to speed on social value, align their objectives and understand how to achieve them.”

The white paper is available to download here- The Future of Social Value.pdf

For videos and presentations from the Summit visit