The Social Return on Investment Network and Local Government Association launch new “Guide to Commissioning for Maximum Value.”

Posted 15th February 2012

The Social Return on Investment Network and Local Government Association launch new “Guide to Commissioning for Maximum Value.”


The SROI Network, in co-operation with the Local Government Association is pleased to announce the launch of the new “Guide to Commissioning for Maximum Value.”

The guide, which has been prepared by The SROI Network as part of the National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning, will be launched officially at The SROI Network International Conference –“A Time for Social Value” on 16-17th February 2012, University of Potsdam, Germany.

It brings together a range of related practice and is intended as a starting point for further development of professional commissioning practice.

Specifically, the guide is aimed at commissioning teams responsible for public services, and is most relevant to those with responsibility for relational services, dealing with what value is and how it may be better understood and taken into account in decision making throughout the cycle of commissioning.

Jennifer Inglis, an author of the report and a director of The SROI Network, said –

“We are delighted to be publishing this major new guide with the LGA. Commissioning is an extremely important discipline in today’s public services. Commissioning teams have the potential to transform not only the impact that individual services, make but also to make a significant difference to communities.”

“Making the most of this potential is key to successfully navigating through current reforms, including Localism, and is also central to meeting existing duties under Best Value.”

“Commissioners have to make difficult decisions and this Guide to Commissioning for Maximum Value offers some principles, adapted from the principles of Social Return on Investment, to help guide these difficult professional judgements.”

“We know there is a lot of interest in Social Return on Investment amongst local authorities and other public sector bodies, and we would invite all interested parties to join the SROI Community of Practice hosted by the LGA to share experiences and further develop practice.”

The Guide to Commissioning for Maximum Value is a timely addition to the UK Government’s “Best Value Statutory Guidance,” in light of reforms in EU Public Procurement Regulation and MP Chris White’s Public Services (Social Value) bill, which call for the concept of making social value more relevant and important in the placement and provision of public services.

It is highly relevant to the changing landscape of public services in England, with a need for systems that support good local decisions, involvement of service users and other stakeholders. It is also relevant in relation to the difficult decisions that many organisations are facing at present, and may be of use in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and additionally to those responsible for back-office services.

The model presented on commissioning for value draws on the training, meetings and other interactions that the SROI Network has had with commissioners on the subject of value. It applies the principles and practices set out in the Cabinet Office’s 2009 “A Guide to Social Return on Investment” but revises and extends them in a way that is both useful and appropriate to commissioning.

To download a copy of the “Guide to Commissioning for Maximum Value” please visit The SROI Network website here.