Ever since the inauguration of the Social Value Act in 2013, the importance of ensuring quantifiable social benefits through all levels of service delivery has been a key consideration for, not solely the third sector, but also for the public sector. As of its originally announcement, the act has been requiring for all public bodies (both in England and Wales) to pay heed to the services being procured and assess the social, economic and environmental impacts of all such works – this, in effect going far above and beyond the staple benefit of what a building might bring, but also those consequences throughout the planning and construction cycle.
Of course, though it has been in place ever since 2013, change has not instantly been seen, yet it has been reported that there is an increased awareness amongst public bodies now, that social value and the benefits, or consequences of works must be regarded as the utmost import. Yet, at the same time, there is relatively low awareness of the import of this process across procurement, and ensuring that even this stage of the development process must be defined. Lord Young commented that such awareness, “Appears to be relatively low when considered against the number and value of procurements across the public sector.”
And yet, whilst the act only enforces social value for the public sector, it has been noted that private companies have also increasingly shown an interest in ensuring the delivery of social value over the course of contracts. With this in mind, the benefits will of course be seen to flow up the supply chain on public sector contracts also, and the growing social responsibility displayed by leading construction contractors is well worthy of praise.
For the future, one of the key areas to be encouraged next is facilities management, where there is still plenty of room for development in the arena of ensuring social value. Yet, as the concept remains one quite fresh with regard to facilities management at present, industry professionals have been reported to push the envelope on incorporating facilities management in the agenda also.