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Damning Report on Social Value of CCG Commissioning in England

May 31, 2017




A report by National Voices and Social Enterprise UK has revealed only a small minority (13%) of Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs) are considering the social, economic and environmental benefits of their procurement and commissioning decisions.


National Voices - a collective of health and social care charities - and Social Enterprise UK, the umbrella body that represents not-for-profit organisations, undertook research looking at whether CCGs were fulfilling their committments to considering the social, economic and environmental benefits of procurement decisions.


The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires commissioners to consider these broader benefits when making commissioning decisions. The Act came in response to concerns that competitive tendering focusing solely on cost at the expense of other forms of value. The legislation enables CCGs to commission providers who are smaller and community based, and/or are engaged in social enterprise or not-for-profit activities.


However, the report - made possible by targetted FOI requests to all of Englands CCGs (209) -  found that only 13% of (CCGs) can clearly show that they are actively committed to pursuing social value in their procurement and commissioning decisions.


The report also included information suggesting:

  • 43% of responding CCGs had no policy on the Act,were not aware of a policy, or had a policy in some stage of development.

  • Only 25 CCGs (13%) demonstrated what the authors define as ‘highly committed, evidenced and active’ use of the Act.

  • Weighting procurement for social value, even amongst the most highly committed CCGs, is limited and low. A pass/fail question or a weighting of 2% of the total evaluation was common.

  • Analysis of Sustainability and Transformation Plans found that just 13% mention social value.

The report suggests widespread confusion in the overall procurement process, with variation region-to-region. A significant number of responders were unaware of the policy in relation to key primary legislation contained within the Act.


There are rising concerns that this is the result of fragmenting two systems around accountability and governance. In Scotland the Scottish Government is doing the exact opposite - trying to bring two huge systems health and social care together. This allows for holistic planning where the money follows the patient and with the 3rd sector/smaller community based services playing a very important role in service delivery


A more detailed breakdown of the findings can be found here

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