New bill requires public sector contracts to consider social outcomes

A new bill has been tabled in Parliament that will require public sector contracts to factor in social outcomes in addition to considerations such as price and an organisations track record.

The public services (social enterprise and social value) bill, a private member’s bill from Chris White MP, will require all public sector contracts to deliver positive social, economic and environmental wellbeing to communities across England and parts of Wales.

Until now, most of the £114bn the government spends on purchasing goods and services goes mainly to the private sector, with contracts awarded based on price, capacity and an organisation’s track record.

The bill offers a great opportunity for social enterprises to gain valuable contracts and increase their value to communities by delivering real social, economic and environmental benefits in addition to public services.

Mr. White said: “I hope it will create a more level playing field across civil society and provide a step forward to an open and diverse public services industry.”

Commercial recycler and social welfare charity, Recycling Lives, already combines quality commercial services with real social, economic and environmental benefits, and is ready to fulfil public sector contracts under the new bill.

Whilst the commercial arm of Recycling Lives provides environmentally beneficial recycling, waste management and carbon reduction services, the charity arm is committed to helping individuals facing an uncertain future, such as the homeless, workless and welfare dependent, turn their lives around.

Individuals, known as Residents, who need a helping hand are offered accommodation, support and training before taking up work experience placements with the company or a Corporate Partner, such as the innovative BulkyWaste Service.

So far, 100 per cent of individuals who have completed the Recycling Lives programme have gone on to full-time employment and independent living.

Case studies have demonstrated the value to society of the Recycling Lives programme.

The studies calculate the ‘social return on investment’ of two Recycling Lives Residents, weighing the cost to society of their previous lifestyles- including costs from welfare dependency, crime and alcohol/drug addictions- against the value passed back to society by the individual attaining a full time job and therefore paying tax and national insurance and earning money that is spent in the local economy.

The case studies have demonstrated a social return on investment of over £32,000 and £65,000 respectively for the Residents studied.

Recycling Lives Founder and Chairman, Steven Jackson, said: “Recycling Lives is committed to the principle of creating real social, economic and environmental value at the same time as providing a quality commercial service.

“This new bill, should it be passed, will put greater emphasis on organisations like Recycling Lives and allow us to tender more successfully for public sector contracts.”