This new act will mean for the first time, all public bodies in England and Wales, including local authorities, will be required to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area, as well as applying the usual measures of best value.
Chris White MP who sponsored the Act has described it as “one of the biggest opportunities that social enterprises have been given in decades as the Act has the potential to open up billions of pounds in public sector service contracts”.
Services covered of course include the procurement of waste and recyclate collections, HWRC management and waste treatment services.
In my spare time I am on the management committee of one of the largest furniture reuse schemes in the UK, and I can see for myself the social good they deliver through work placements and training for the long term unemployed and ex-offenders and supply of furniture and white goods to those in need.
This new Act should give the third sector and social enterprises a more level playing field when looking to provide services for local authorities, particularly when they work in partnership with the private sector waste management companies.
Peter Scholes, managing director, Urban Mines