Here at Essex County we’re preparing for our first ever Social Value Festival which runs from Monday 19 to Thursday 22 July online. But what is social value and why should we all care about it?
Essex County Council has a significant annual budget which it spends on projects and programmes to benefit local people. Social Value refers to the wider financial and non-financial effects of those programmes including the impact on employment, the environment and the local community.
Put simply, when we’re putting out a new project to tender, we’re not just looking at the costs but at the benefits such as how it might boost the local economy too or how many new apprenticeships will be created for young people. The Social Value is now a very important part of how we evaluate bids and award contracts.
Our Social Value Festival brings together for the first time local businesses of all sizes and from different industries with experts in the field to learn more about social value, how it is measured and to learn how you can successfully incorporate Social Value into a tender.
We’re delighted to be joined by some high-profile speakers including Professor Chris White, the author of the Social Value Act (2012), Arnab Dutt OBE, Head of Social Value Policy at FSB (Federation of Small Businesses), Claire Dove CBE, Crown Representative for Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises, Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK, Ben Carpenter, CEO of Social Value International and many more. There will also be a range of targeted sessions focusing on employment, social care, environment and technology, all with senior officers available to answer questions.
We’ll be launching our Social Value Catalogue, an online resource hub with guidance, tools, and examples of best practice. The Catalogue includes signposts to funding opportunities and practical support aimed at helping organisations improve their social value offer.
Registration is open and tickets are free, so take a look at the full programme and book your places now. I look forward to seeing you there!