University of Northampton welcomes DWP’s Commissioning Strategy
The University of Northampton welcomes a new commissioning strategy published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for Welfare to Work Services, which includes the consideration of social value being integrated into future commissioning.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires public bodies in England and Wales to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of an area.
The University of Northampton’s £1bn Challenge campaign is aligned with the DWP’s new strategy and has been running for two years. The campaign encourages UK universities to spend at least £1bn of their combined annual procurement budget of over £8bn with suppliers that can deliver social impact. They can either buy direct from social ventures, or work with private sector partners to ensure they embed social value into their supply chain. For example, the procurement process for the construction of the Waterside Campus has social value clauses included.
Procuring for social value means the University can get two things for the price of one – the University gets the product or service it requires, but it also helps deliver social value such as the training and employment of young unemployed people or ex-offenders. Thoughtful procurement can, when done with public and private sector suppliers, make a huge difference to some social problems.
Professor Simon Denny, Director of Research, Impact and Enterprise at the University of Northampton, commented: “More and more government departments are developing and implementing social value based commissioning strategies. It is a real step forward and we should be proud that our University has been campaigning hard to persuade all types of organisation, as well as other universities, to procure for social value. Our Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Petford, is the Chair of Procurement UK, the group set up by Universities UK to provide a strategic approach to collaborative purchasing and commissioning in the UK Higher Education sector, further demonstrating the University’s commitment to social value.”