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Chaired by Professor Christopher McCrudden, this session explored the use of spending through government contracts – the public procurement system - to achieve broad public policy goals. There are various names for such initiates around the world, including ‘buying social’, ‘broader outcomes’, and ‘social value’. In the UK, central government agencies are now required to explicitly evaluate ‘social value’ when they contract for any goods or services. 

This became mandatory for all new central government contracts beginning January 2021 (Procurement Policy Note 06/20). These policies are ambitious and important in the face of COVID-19 and climate change. These policies also raise questions about public sector capacity, democracy, accountability, and the role of Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations. 

Listen to the audio recording of the session.