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Health & Social Value: Brighton & Hove


A case study from the Health & Social Value programme

In Brighton, the Health and Social Value programme provided the space and time for the voluntary sector, local council and Clinical Commissioning Groups to focus on one important area – how to best understand and embed social value.

This fast-tracked the production of a framework and guide that everyone had the opportunity to contribute to.

The programme was delivered in partnership with Social Enterprise UK and funded by the Department of Health.

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In partnership

This programme was developed and delivered in partnership with:


Funded by the Department of Health

The Social Value Act 


Under the Public Services (Social Value) Act public bodies are required to consider how the services they commission and procure might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of an area. The Act received Government backing as well as cross-party support in both the Commons and the Lords in 2012 enabling it to pass through Parliament.


The Act’s implementation date began in January 2013. All English and some Welsh bodies have to comply with the new law. This includes local authorities, government departments, NHS Trusts, PCTs, fire and rescue services, and housing associations. It applies to public service markets, from health and housing to transport and waste. Commissioners will be required to factor in social value in at the pre-procurement phase, allowing them to embed social value in the design of the service from the outset.



The Health & Social Value Programme


Funded by the Department of Health, the programme was established to support the implementation of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 in health and social care commissioning with a focus on supporting local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups to commission for social value. There was also encouragement to Health and Wellbeing Boards and other local partners to promote social value in the commissioning and delivery of health and care services and improve understanding of their own social value impact by charities and social enterprises’ understanding of their own social value impact.


The overall aim was to develop and support effective relationships between sector leaders to promote joint working around social value. The programme, delivered over three years offered up valuable peer learning opportunities for all selected areas on a rolling basis. This unique approach was key in making things stick and it continues to build knowledge and networks beyond the funded programme.


  • Year 1: 4 areas, 16 sessions: Halton, Salford, Milton Keynes, Calderdale
  • Year 2: 4 areas, 16 sessions: Haringey, North Tyneside, Reading, Leeds
  • Year 3: 4 areas, 16 sessions: Brighton & Hove, Lambeth, Oldham, Shropshire


Total: 12 areas, 48 action learning sessions + 3 national events and over 100 people participating per year. 

Brighton & Hove CCG were early pioneers of social value and have been working towards a city-wide social value framework since the first iteration of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.


The inclusion and significant weighting of social value in some procurement processes for the third sector has already included the Integrated Brighton and Hove and East Sussex Domestic Violence Services commission, where social value was weighted at an impressive 30%.


There is a citywide Social Value Scrutiny Panel led by Brighton & Hove City Council and their review of how social value has been embedded into procurement and commissioning processes across the city fed into the Government’s Public Services (Social Value) Act review earlier this year (2015). 


Strategic objectives


  • Developing a common understanding and framework, for social value in Brighton & Hove – with national and local examples to learn from
  • Embedding social value through the commissioning process – for commissioners and providers
  • Generating evidence that social value weighting can make a difference to the way services are delivered, and measuring the impact, or change in communities


What was the impact?


  • A co-produced Social Value Framework and guide – led by the cross sector core group and consulted on across the city

  • Several opportunities to learn together, as well as to ‘showcase’ partner activity

  • Social Value Champions have emerged, at all levels, from grass-root organisations to statutory agencies



Over 60 people participated

The reach of the programme extends far beyond the number of those who participated, as participants share their learning, outcomes and practical resources with others.

  • 21 from the local authority
  • 2 from Brighton University
  • 10 from the NHS
  • 27 VCSE representatives from 16 different organisations


The Future


Brighton is committed to moving the work on social value forward


  • This work is now being taken forward for endorsement by City Council committees

  • Aiming for agreement on a 10 to 30% scoring for social value.

  • Developing plans to embed the social value framework through training for commissioners

  • There are plans to review the process and outcomes 18 months on from the launch of the framework, to consider the lessons learnt along the journey and ‘refresh’ the process


Local leads

  • Sally Polanski, Chief Officer – Community Works

  • Emma McDermott, Head of Communities, Equality & Third Sector – Brighton & Hove Council

  • Jane Lodge, Head of Engagement – Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group

  • Charlotte Pace – IVAR 



We definitely got in shape quicker and made more progress in a short space of time because of the programme.”

Sally Polanski, Community Works


Benefits of the programme


  • Supports meaningful engagement between Clinical Commissioning Groups, residents, patients, carers and their communities
  • Builds trust and mutual understanding between Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise organisations (VCSE), Clinical Commissioning Groups, Health & Well-Being Boards and Local Authority
  • Enables senior staff in cross-sector organisations to take key leadership roles in responding to the challenges of transforming health commissioning and delivery
  • Supports a local programme of intervention for more effective engagement of VCSE organisations
  • Shared models and experience of effective approaches to cross-sector commissioning

Learn more about IVAR