Challenges to Embedding Social Value Act 2012 in the Strategic and Operational Processes of Public Sector Construction Projects

Niraj Thurairajah, Joan Muchena, Hong Xiao

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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This research focuses on the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, which came
into force in January of 2013. The Act appears to challenge the traditional perception of value and proposes to one that encompasses social, environmental and economic benefits to the communities these businesses operate. The Act has received some criticisms for being a soft touch as it essentially asks commissioners to ‘consider’ embedding the Act when making their procurement decisions and this flexibility has been attributed to the lack of its uptake by some Local Authorities. However anecdotal evidence suggests that some of these issues are stemming from strategic and operational processes with regards to how it is implemented in everyday practices. Therefore, this research seeks to investigate how the Social Value Act
(2012) has been embedded into the strategic, operational and technical aspects of public sector construction projects. An explanatory case study approach, consisting of three case studies, specifically focusing on the Act’s applicability within a construction context, was used in this research. Facts and perceptions were collected from Local Authority policy documents and from senior managers representing four Local Authorities. Furthermore, a contractor’s perspective was also obtained from a specialist Social Value delivery consultant associated with one of the selected Local Authorities. Findings show that Local Authorities at the heart of this Act have welcomed the way in which it is not prescriptive. The flexibility of the Act was perceived to be an incentive and allows them to use the Act not just for procurement but other Local Authority functions. However, the Act is still surrounded by confusion with regard to specifications on delivery and this could be attributed to the lack of clarity on measuring Social Value outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2019
EventARCOM 2019: 35th Annual Conference – Leeds, UK: Productivity, Performance and Quality Conundrum - Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Sept 20194 Sept 2019
Conference number: 35


ConferenceARCOM 2019: 35th Annual Conference – Leeds, UK
Abbreviated titleARCOM 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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