Community Business and the Social Value Act

The Power to Change Research Institute commissioned two independent researchers to undertake research to explore views of the Social Value Act among community businesses in early 2017.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force in January 2013. The Act requires commissioners of public services in England and Wales to consider the social, environmental and economic benefits of the contracts that they tender. Although the inclusion of social value in commissioning is not compulsory, the
Social Value Act provides a mechanism for commissioners to place more emphasis on social value. This means that Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations are, in theory, well placed to bid for public sector contracts and demonstrate the value they provide for their local area. Power to Change was interested in understanding whether this is indeed the case, and the extent to which the Social Value Act has impacted on the community business sector to date.

The research involved a rapid review of relevant literature alongside qualitative interviews with 10 relevant stakeholders and 11 community businesses. This report summarises the research and is designed to provide an indicative overview of views to help Power to Change consider its response to the next review of the Act that is due to take place in 2017.