Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) Bill (Money)

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:46 pm on 15th February 2011.

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Queen's recommendation signified.

Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office 9:01 pm, 15th February 2011

I beg to move,

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of any expenditure incurred in consequence of this Act by a Minister of the Crown, government department or other public authority.

I should like to take this opportunity to thank my hon. Friend Chris White for introducing this important Bill. I am pleased to confirm the Government's support for the Bill, subject to certain amendments at the Committee stage. On Second Reading, it was the will of the House that the Bill should be discussed in Committee.

The primary measure that the Government are supporting is the requirement for contracting bodies to consider how they might promote or improve economic, social or environmental well-being when commissioning services. This includes a requirement that authorities consider whether to consult the persons who will benefit from the service. The decision on how authorities should take account of this wider value is left to the authority. It is already best practice to take account of wider value when undertaking procurement and to consult in such circumstances, and guidance and tools are already available. For an individual contracting authority, the costs are likely to be small. The measure therefore triggers the need for this new money resolution, which I commend to the House.

Photo of Roberta Blackman-Woods Roberta Blackman-Woods Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office) 9:03 pm, 15th February 2011

I do not wish to detain the House for much longer on this matter. The Opposition supported the Bill on Second Reading, and we wish to see it go into Committee, where we think it can be strengthened. We very much want local authorities to have these strategies in place to promote social enterprises and to consider how they can better meet the needs of their communities and continue to develop public services in a way that it is truly responsive to local needs. We therefore support the resolution.

Question put and agreed to.