26 Jun 2018
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Sodexo Public Service Pledge cover - a group of business people

Outsourcing in the public sector – A social commitment

This blog post was written by Deborah Rowland, Director Public Sector Affairs, Sodexo UK & Ireland 

The Public Service Act (Social Value) 2012 puts social value at the heart of commissioning, ensuring that authorities consider the wider economic and environmental benefit that they can achieve when buying goods and services. In addition, the Social Value Act became law in 2013. In a time when demand for public services is rising with reduced funding, it is key that maximum value for every pound spent on public services is obtained and that commissioners can identify better-targeted more innovative service delivery models.

The Act was reviewed by Lord Young in 2015 in which he concluded that more evidence was needed if it was to be extended and strengthened. He also identified several barriers to be overcome which have now been somewhat addressed – awareness and adoption of the Act is increasing – particularly in use by Local Authorities who have taken the lead.

The new CCS FM Framework has included social value as a mandatory service line, however we are yet to see an improvement in awareness and understanding within central government commissioning, but hopefully the new FM framework may start to address this.

In the running of public services, the private sector must be fully committed to consistent delivery of promises, outcomes and value for money and demonstrate a real public sector ethos through the delivery of services. To demonstrate suitability for public service delivery, private companies must provide evidence of a genuine social conscience that does not start and stop within the confines of the public sector contract.

In the UK and Ireland 52% of Sodexo’s business is in the public sector across segments including Defence & Government, Justice, Healthcare and Schools & Universities, plus the central government services run by Benefits & Rewards.

From an FM supplier perspective, we must demonstrate and evidence genuine social conscience. When we sign a public service contract, we are not only signing a commercial and financial contract, but a social one too. Having the right culture, values and leadership is crucial to providing public services no matter which sector you are in and we must demonstrate a public service ethos.

Sodexo prides itself on its values. We have recently published our second Public Service Pledge  which demonstrates our continued investment in our people, communities and the customers we serve. The Pledge brings our principles to life and focuses on transparency, integrity, respect and loyalty.

The 2018 Pledge stands in addition to any commitments already within our contracts and focuses on three principle themes:

  • We must consistently deliver on achieving outcomes and value for money.
  • We must demonstrate our public sector ethos through contract and financial transparency and accountability.
  • We must develop and evidence a genuine social conscience beyond our contracts – aimed at enhancing quality of life and social justice for clients, customers and communities.
  • We believe our Pledge will improve the services we deliver, ensure we work in even closer partnership with government, fully maximise the value for money we bring, optimise the outcomes we achieve, and make us even more accountable to government.

If you would like to know more about the Sodexo Public Service Pledge you can read more here.

Yesterday,  the Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP spoke about the future of public services and a call for them to be “delivered with values at their heart, where the wider social benefits matter and are recognised”.  Read our regional chair, Sean Haley’s view on this here.

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