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A cautionary tale about the dangers of quantification of social value at the expense of value, especially in the competitive tendering context.

PossAbilities CIC is a £15m-turnover social enterprise which supports people with learning disabilities. It invests its surpluses – real money – into social value, with examples given in this video (description continues below).

Malcolm McClean is PossAbilities’ Business Development Manager. He says the way in which social value frameworks (eg the Social Value Portal) are used encourages some suppliers to “game” the system to win public service tenders.

He describes the potential pitfalls. “I don’t blame the portal…but it needs intelligent application….in a way it encourages the procurement departments to encourage gaming the system.”

And he talks about two vital things which public agencies should consider when they are letting a contract for public services.

Malcolm’s observations were part of a recent E3M From Procurement to Partnership Toolkit webinar.

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