Chris White is the Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington. Follow Chris on Twitter.
In June this year, I was delighted to be appointed as the first ever Social Value Ambassador by the Government, in order to champion my Private Member’s Bill which passed last year – the Public Services (Social Value) Act – and to support the social value agenda more widely. Since the Act passed, and now in my new role, one of myths I am keen to combat is the idea that considering social value is a burden upon public bodies at a time when they need to be focusing on other issues.
As a candidate in Warwick and Leamington, one of the most consistent concerns I heard from residents was about how we can improve the quality of local services, despite the difficult economic environment. Most people recognise that we are facing a period where public spending cannot increase as rapidly as it has in the past, yet we have to find ways to ensure that services meet the expectations of the public whilst keeping a downward pressure on cost. This is a challenge that is being felt across the public sector, and particularly amongst local authorities, and it requires new ways of thinking about commissioning and delivering services.