Project: Survey of Public Sector Commissioners and Procurement Professionals
Service Area: Social Research
Client: Ready for Business LLP
Duration: 3 months

The Brief

In no area is the impact of the public sector on society and the economy more evident than in the way that public funds are spent. It follows then that there is a real push to ensure that public spending goes further and that this purchasing power achieves a wider and more sustainable impact. It is in this context that Social Value Lab carried out the most comprehensive analysis yet of the views of public sector buyers as they attempt to purchase more sustainably, maximise the Social Value they can obtain through stretched resources, and in doing so deepen their engagement with the Third Sector.

Our Inputs

The research was carried out by Social Value Lab as part of the Ready for Business consortium delivering the Scottish Government’s Developing Markets for Third Sector Providers programme. Based largely on a survey that obtained evidence from 182 public sector commissioners and procurement professionals, the study examined issues surrounding the awareness, attitudes, behaviours and aspirations of public sector buyers. It investigated issues relating to the use and application of a range of measures, including Community Benefits Clauses in Public Procurement and delivery of Public Social Partnership projects. The findings of the research were representative of views across the country.

The Results

The research offered a comprehensive snapshot of current situation and the evidence produced informed the detailed design of the Developing Markets for Third Sector Providers programme. It has also provided a baseline against which the success of the Programme will be assessed in a planned follow-up in 2014. More widely the research has been useful in stimulating debate, furthering knowledge, and guiding support for public authorities that are committed to maximising Social Value through procurement. This includes informing Government thinking on the development of the Procurement Reform Bill. The research forms part of a suite of learning reports, guidance, and case studies being produced by Social Value Lab and partners to shape the response of Scotland’s public sector.

Some Feedback

“Working as part of the wider Ready for Business partnership, Social Value Lab put together what I feel is a seminal study into the attitudes and behaviours of public sector commissioners and buyers. The design of the research helped to break down the complicated concept of ‘social value’ into simple, bite-sized chunks and the research methods used secured evidence from a large, representative sample of public sector purchasers. The team at Social Value Lab brought their usual clear reporting style to the work, combining narrative and info graphics to good effect. The research report produced has really helped us to inform and shape the response of public sector colleagues”.

Roddy Stewart, Developing Markets for Third Sector Providers Programme Manager

Download the full report ‘Embedding Social Value through Sustainable Procurement’ here.