Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Friday, 25 November 2011

MPs give consent to public service bill

On 25 November 2011, Conservative MP Chris White's Public Services (Social Value) Bill completed report stage and third reading.

The MP for Warwick and Leamington's bill, formerly known as the Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) Bill, seeks to help voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) groups which provide additional benefits to their communities win public service contracts.

The bill will now be taken through the House of Lords by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Richard Newby.

Mr White said the bill: "Comes at a time when social enterprise, voluntary, community organisations across our communities are looking to the government and to all political parties to show the support for the work that they do."

Civil Society Minister Nick Hurd said the bill will "help unlock the entrepreneurial energy that is out there" and "send a clearer signal to those buying services on our behalf".

Labour remain broadly supportive of the bill but tabled a new clause which Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Gareth Thomas said would "strengthen" the bill.

It reinserted clauses which were contained in the original bill, reinstating a requirement for local and central government to develop social enterprise strategies.

He later withdrew his clause, and Chris White said that while he too wanted to focus on "a more strategic approach to social enterprise" the bill would still allow this to happen.

The bill would require all public sector contracts to carry a "social clause" asking bidders what positive social outcomes their tender would create.

Mr White believes that public sector procurement decisions should not be decided on price alone.

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