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Any real value?

5 March 2012

The Public Services (Social Value) Bill has passed through its last stage in the House of Lords with no further amendments. Its purpose is to place an obligation on relevant public authorities to consider improvements to social, economic and environmental well-being within their areas when procuring contracts for public services. How this can be achieved is left up to the authority in question but it must be decided upon prior to starting the procurement or mini-competition under a framework agreement.

A lot of the original teeth have been pulled by the Government meaning that it will not take a genius to come up with ways to get around this obligation if it seems to be too cumbersome. As many public authorities tend to start their procurement exercises under pressure to complete as soon as possible an additional burden which may not fall comfortably within the EU requirement of fair competition within Member States could well end up being ignored.

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