Thoughts from the 2021 National Social Value Conference
Our Operations Assistant Grace attended the 2021 National Social Value Conference. Here's some of her key takeways!
The 2021 National Social Value Conference took place virtually from 23rd February to the 24th of February. Across the two days, attendees heard from a plethora of speakers, from the public and private sectors, to share good practice and innovative ideas about how to embed social value into commissioning, procurement, and delivery. Here are Operations Assistant Grace’s highlights from the conference!
Day one kicked off with an inspiring Conference Keynote session by Baroness Barran MBE, Minister for Civil Society. Baroness Barran was appointed as the Minister for Civil Society for the UK Government on 26 July 2019. In this role, she is responsible for policy related to the UK’s Civil Society, including but not restricted to responsible business and social enterprise, youth and social action, and loneliness.
During the plenary session, Baroness Barran highlighted how the pandemic exposed the acute health and social inequalities in this country and how Embedding social value in procurement in a way that maximises impact can counter such inequalities. In order to achieve full impact, Baroness Barran stated, that social value will require extensive collaboration within the procurement community and further afield. By doing so, the broader perspective of the procurement landscape should increase bureaucracy.
Lastly, Baroness Barran also gave a shout out to colleague Claire Dove, Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Representative. Dove has recently been running webinars for small voluntary organisations with the aim to ensure they are apt for competing in this area. Which is very valuable.
The second highlight of the conference also came from day one, from the breakout session titled ‘Developing a social value measurement framework for the housing sector’. This session was chaired by Nathan Goode, Head of Data and Analytics, Social Value Portal. In addition to Goode, the panel was made up of the following speakers: Chichi Onyenemelu, Social Value Leadership Group, Social Value Adviser, The Hyde Group and Emily Alexander, Head of Corporate Affairs, Get Living.
During this session, the panel discussed what works in terms of social value implementation and delivery and the need for a robust standard for measuring and reporting social value. During this session, Onyenemelu expressed that suppliers should examine their CSR strategies and ensure that social value is a strand of their policy, rather than being considered as secondary. For the time being, whilst social value is not mandatory in delivery for the housing sector, Onyenemelu recommends that suppliers ensure they integrate social value into their strategies and policies now.
The final highlight of the conference was on day two. Day two of the conference kicked off with speaker Sophie Bellon’s talk ‘Build back better: Leading by example’ Bellon is Chairwoman of Sodexo’s Board of Directors.
During this session, Bellon talked about how the pandemic has highlighted the value of our service professions, and how it has put a spotlight on those jobs that were often invisible. In response to this effect, Bellon called upon attendees to act by fighting commoditisation. Moving forward, similarly to Baroness Barran’s keynote speech, Bellon expressed that businesses are a powerful platform for change and therefore, change must be a collective effort. To achieve a collective effort, it takes the entire ecosystem to take part, including – private/ public clients, consumers, suppliers, public authorities, and third-sector actors – this will help create long-term social value.
Lastly, congratulations to all of those who were nominated and won an award as part of the Social Value Awards 2021 which took place during the final quarter of the conference. It was great to see so many organisations already implementing great policies and changes.
For more information on this year’s conference and to see the event’s agenda, click here.