Getting to grips with commissioning and social value

A new guide produced by the Children's Partnership - the children's voluntary sector strategic partner to the Department for Education - clarifies the role charities can play in the commissioning process, and discusses how they can provide extra social value to public sector contracts.

The Social Value and Commissioning Toolkitcharts how the landscape of commissioning is changing, with charities and social enterprises playing a greater role in the design and delivery of public services.

New requirements mean commissioners must consider the overall social value of projects, including additional social, economic, and environmental benefits above-and-beyond the primary aims of a service.

The guide enables charities to demonstrate their impact by articulating how they provide social value and how they can start a dialogue with commissioners in their area, overcoming barriers which may prevent them from achieving their full potential to shape and provide public services.

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children's Bureau said:

'In the current economic climate, where public bodies tend to concentrate on cost rather than long-term value for money and social value, charities need to work that bit harder to win work. This guide shows how they can engage with commissioners and present the social benefits of their work in a way that convinces them that cheapest is not always best, and that preventative action can be more cost-effective than cure.' 

Anne Longfield OBE, Chief Executive of 4Children, said:

'This guide will help small charities and community organisations to win local government contracts by showing them how to demonstrate the extra benefits they can offer to people receiving a service which a business may not be able to provide."

Ruth Driscoll, Head of Policy and Public Services at NCVO, said:

'As the social value agenda builds momentum the commissioning process continues to present both opportunities and challenges for charities wanting to deliver public services. This toolkit helps charities prepare for some of the thornier issues they might encounter and provides valuable advice on how to overcome these challenges and demonstrate the social value they can add to service delivery.'

The Social Value and Commissioning Toolkit is available from the Children's Partnership Knowledge Bank at: