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  • user warning: UPDATE command denied to user '408302_semagad'@'10.40.200.34' for table 'cache_filter' query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>It took four hours of debate &ndash; and some concessions are likely &ndash; but the UK&rsquo;s first social value bill is one important step closer to becoming law.</p>\n<p>The Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) private member&#39;s bill, introduced by Conservative MP Chris White, will now go to the committee stage for more debate.</p>\n<p>If it becomes law it will require all commissioners of public services to consider taking into account economic, social and environmental value, not just price, when buying goods and services.</p>\n<p>Most private member&#39;s bills never make it past the second reading and White was praised by several MPs for his &#39;determination&#39; in having got this far. However, the civil society minister Nick Hurd made it clear the government would seek amendments.</p>\n<p>In particular, the government would ask to drop sections seeking to introduce a national social enterprise strategy and a requirement on councils to develop their own local social enterprise strategies.</p>\n<p>Hurd said: &lsquo;Strategy should be driven by need and conviction not bureaucracy.&rsquo;</p>\n<p>At the same time he announced that the Office for Civil Society was working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to &lsquo;refresh&rsquo; the social enterprise strategy produced by the former Office of the Third Sector. Hurd said the new strategy would be published in March 2011.</p>\n<p>When White introduced the bill this morning he said it was driven by a belief in the Big Society citing it as an idea that was not created by prime minister David Cameron but a belief that has cut across parties &lsquo;for centuries&rsquo;.</p>\n<p>White added: &lsquo;While it is easy to merely say what one believes, it is much more difficult to put forward concrete proposals that can help realise those beliefs.</p>\n<p>&lsquo;We need to create the opportunity for voluntary organisations, for social enterprise, for charities, for socially responsible businesses to thrive.&rsquo;</p>\n<p>He said the best way to do this would be to &lsquo;widen the concept of value&rsquo; because &lsquo;purely focusing on the short term cost&rsquo; ignores the &lsquo;potential long term benefits that could be delivered by social enterprises&#39;.</p>\n<p>Most of the dozen MPs who spoke or interjected during the debate agreed with the concept of widening the definition of value and the idea of &lsquo;intelligent commissioning&rsquo;. However, there was a huge amount of debate among Conservative MPs, in particular, about exactly which type of organisations the bill would benefit and the definition of a social enterprise.</p>\n<p>Beliefs oscillated wildly between those who thought the phrase &#39;social enterprise&#39; in the bill should be changed to &#39;charity&#39; and those who wanted the bill to be broad enough to benefit businesses that engage in corporate social responsibility &ndash; with Tesco given as an example.</p>\n<p>Hurd said that this bill was &lsquo;not just about social enterprise&rsquo;.</p>\n<p>He said: &lsquo;I hope this bill will also be a catalyst to encourage traditional businesses to speak up more about what they are doing in their own community and act as a challenge to traditional businesses to think harder about their social responsibility and their commitment to community.&rsquo;</p>\n<p>Hurd added that the government would have more to say on this theme &lsquo;in a very short time&rsquo;.</p>\n<p>There was also considerable concern that small local businesses should not lose out to social enterprises with the Conservative MP for Christchurch Christopher Chope saying that he had received representations of concern from the Federation of Small Businesses.</p>\n<p>Labour MP Hazel Blears, who played a key role in getting opposition support for the bill raised her concern that public services be protected through an asset lock which would stop social enterprise being used as a &lsquo;transition phase&rsquo; to privatisation.</p>\n<p>Both Blears and Hurd said there was a problem on how social value is measured and Hurd reiterated the government support for research into this area.</p>\n<p>The shadow civil society minister Jon Trickett sat in on the bill&#39;s reading but his contribution was almost entirely political. He drew attention to the amount of debate among the conservative members which he said showed the &lsquo;intellectual fissures at the core of the Big Society&rsquo;.</p>\n<p>He was rebuked by Hurd who said he hoped &lsquo;in time&rsquo; Trickett would see it was a &#39;non-political&#39; issue.</p>\n<p>The Social Enterprise Coalition said it was &lsquo;delighted&rsquo; by the passing of the bill to committee stage. Its CEO Peter Holbrook was not available to comment on the concessions which are likely to be made at the next stage of the bill&#39;s passage through parliament.</p>\n', created = 1498709524, expire = 1498795924, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:a7143bc60099384c87b992d3d235076d' in /mnt/stor2-wc1-dfw1/408302/www.socialenterpriselive.com/web/content/includes/cache.inc on line 109.
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Social value bill passes critical debate in Commons

19 November 2010
Chris White MP

Chris White MP is attempting to introduce the UK's first social value act

It took four hours of debate – and some concessions are likely – but the UK’s first social value bill is one important step closer to becoming law.

The Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) private member's bill, introduced by Conservative MP Chris White, will now go to the committee stage for more debate.

If it becomes law it will require all commissioners of public services to consider taking into account economic, social and environmental value, not just price, when buying goods and services.

Most private member's bills never make it past the second reading and White was praised by several MPs for his 'determination' in having got this far. However, the civil society minister Nick Hurd made it clear the government would seek amendments.

In particular, the government would ask to drop sections seeking to introduce a national social enterprise strategy and a requirement on councils to develop their own local social enterprise strategies.

Hurd said: ‘Strategy should be driven by need and conviction not bureaucracy.’

At the same time he announced that the Office for Civil Society was working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to ‘refresh’ the social enterprise strategy produced by the former Office of the Third Sector. Hurd said the new strategy would be published in March 2011.

When White introduced the bill this morning he said it was driven by a belief in the Big Society citing it as an idea that was not created by prime minister David Cameron but a belief that has cut across parties ‘for centuries’.

White added: ‘While it is easy to merely say what one believes, it is much more difficult to put forward concrete proposals that can help realise those beliefs.

‘We need to create the opportunity for voluntary organisations, for social enterprise, for charities, for socially responsible businesses to thrive.’

He said the best way to do this would be to ‘widen the concept of value’ because ‘purely focusing on the short term cost’ ignores the ‘potential long term benefits that could be delivered by social enterprises'.

Most of the dozen MPs who spoke or interjected during the debate agreed with the concept of widening the definition of value and the idea of ‘intelligent commissioning’. However, there was a huge amount of debate among Conservative MPs, in particular, about exactly which type of organisations the bill would benefit and the definition of a social enterprise.

Beliefs oscillated wildly between those who thought the phrase 'social enterprise' in the bill should be changed to 'charity' and those who wanted the bill to be broad enough to benefit businesses that engage in corporate social responsibility – with Tesco given as an example.

Hurd said that this bill was ‘not just about social enterprise’.

He said: ‘I hope this bill will also be a catalyst to encourage traditional businesses to speak up more about what they are doing in their own community and act as a challenge to traditional businesses to think harder about their social responsibility and their commitment to community.’

Hurd added that the government would have more to say on this theme ‘in a very short time’.

There was also considerable concern that small local businesses should not lose out to social enterprises with the Conservative MP for Christchurch Christopher Chope saying that he had received representations of concern from the Federation of Small Businesses.

Labour MP Hazel Blears, who played a key role in getting opposition support for the bill raised her concern that public services be protected through an asset lock which would stop social enterprise being used as a ‘transition phase’ to privatisation.

Both Blears and Hurd said there was a problem on how social value is measured and Hurd reiterated the government support for research into this area.

The shadow civil society minister Jon Trickett sat in on the bill's reading but his contribution was almost entirely political. He drew attention to the amount of debate among the conservative members which he said showed the ‘intellectual fissures at the core of the Big Society’.

He was rebuked by Hurd who said he hoped ‘in time’ Trickett would see it was a 'non-political' issue.

The Social Enterprise Coalition said it was ‘delighted’ by the passing of the bill to committee stage. Its CEO Peter Holbrook was not available to comment on the concessions which are likely to be made at the next stage of the bill's passage through parliament.

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