Health and Social Care Bill — Report (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:00 pm on 27th February 2012.

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Photo of Lord Newby Lord Newby Liberal Democrat 11:00 pm, 27th February 2012

My Lords, it is with very considerable diffidence that I rise to speak at this hour and for the first time on this Bill. Tomorrow we have, I hope, the Third Reading of the Public Services (Social Value) Bill which I introduced at Second Reading in your Lordships' House. That Bill will require all public bodies, including health service bodies, to consider the broader social value of tenders when deciding on who to place the tenders with. At one level, therefore, it could be argued that these amendments might not be necessary. What concerns me is what happens after, as I hope will be the case, this Bill passes tomorrow. What change will take place in the health service and elsewhere? One of the absolutely key changes that has to take place is the one set out in Amendment 64B; namely, that weightings must be attached to social value at the point at which companies, social enterprises, charities and so on are submitting their tenders. Unless the procurement regulations are changed to provide for such weightings it will be very difficult to have the kind of change in culture and practice which the Public Services (Social Value) Bill seeks to achieve.

I wonder whether the noble Earl, who has already very helpfully in a debate on a previous amendment committed the Government to giving guidance in respect of one matter, will be prepared to commit the Government now to the extent that the Department of Health would require NHS bodies commissioning services covered by the Public Services (Social Value) Bill to include within the tender document a weighting in respect of social value.