A private member's bill introduced in the House of Commons this week would require all public sector contacts to carry a 'social clause', asking bidders what positive social outcomes their tender would create.
The Public Services (Social Enterprise And Social Value) Bill, put before Parliament by Chris White, the newly elected Conservative MP for Warwick & Leamington, would, if passed, also require central government and each local authority to publish strategies in connection with promoting social enterprise and consult communities when forming those strategies.
A spokesman for White said the concept of a social clause was intended to ensure that public sector procurement was decided not only on price but also on social value.
"Factoring in the social value that a contract would create would give government the chance to do good," he said.
He added that doing this would increase the chances of social enterprises and charities winning contracts but would also force private sector contractors to increase the amount of social value they created. It would also give smaller businesses help in competing with larger businesses.
The spokesman said the bill stood a strong chance of being passed.
"All three main parties support social enterprise," he said. "This policy has the backing of the Social Enterprise Coalition, as well as a number of other organisations. It will also get a full day’s reading, so it should have time to be properly debated."