The price of everything, the social value of nothing

Think tank: Adam Smith Institute

Author(s): Maxwell Marlow

August 12, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at how the Social Value Act damages British procurement.

In this paper, our Director of Research Maxwell Marlow analyses the Social Value Act 2012 and its effects on the procurement process in the UK. The Social Value Act, and accompanying Social Value Model, stipulate over 40 regulations which essentially micromanage British businesses and their operations in order to execute social policy. However, this ups cost, lowers competition for SMEs against incumbents, and adds further waste to the procurement system.

The paper recommends:

  • A new review of the Social Value Act by the Public Accounts Committee, ensuring that it can be evaluated to provide fairness and transparency to SMEs.
  • A review of the reporting metrics for Model Award Criteria (MAC), removing social and economical engineering of companies from criteria.
  • A review of the appropriateness of MACs on a contract-to-contract basis, rather than on whole system proscriptions.
  • The retraction of the Social Value Act.
  • A return to Most Economically Advantageous Tender, from Most Advantageous Tender.