To what extent can government currently make socially intelligent decision, before proposing to make spending cuts, based on social impact on lives per unit cost (by supplier)?


Understanding the extent to which government (have the data to be able to) take externalities into account in making decisions.

Specifically, are spending changes made with consideration of a price which includes social impact or to does it only consider the direct interest of the organisation making them, i.e. is social impact costed in, in a measurable way, and if not - can it be assessed and brought to government attention.

In particular this is topical to spending reductions. Cuts would need to be distinctly identifiable, and social impact notes applied to them.


  1. domestic vs. overseas suppliers, where domestic suppliers have a higher domestic social impact on the number of young people in employment, training or full time education
  2. low energy usage vw. reconditioned computer hardware servers, where the former is more green in terms of operating costs and the latter is more green in terms of recycling.

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Please feel free to contact me to tell my what you think and share knowledge from my past work in this area of social impact analysis. David Pidsley

asked 15 Mar '11, 22:53

davidpidsley's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

A very important question David - and one that I fear is not being asked at the right time by the right people who are making the decisions on how savings should be made.

See http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/care-homes-operator-close-to-collapse-after-rents-soar-2241875.html for an example of the potential negative social impact of imposing further local authority spending cuts on a wholly privatised service - a double whammy when government are looking to promote further service outsourcing/privatisation! Anwen Robinson


answered 16 Mar '11, 03:47

anwenrobinson's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

So many local news stories are based on an anecdotal, but very valid, identification of a potentially negative social impact arising from a reduction in local government expenditure. We need the data to be able to evaluate consequences of similar actions in the past and predict the social impact of local government decision-making in the future, especially at the finance, procurement and management accounting levels. This is where you, your customers and I have a mutual interest in gathering more open data from civil society organisations and bringing it into local government spend analysis.

(16 Mar '11, 11:23) davidpidsley

It is important to know how commercial outsourcing changes government performance, specifically after a transition from operating a service within local government to it being contracted to an external supplier with a commercial legal structure, especially when we can account for the social impact of government suppliers. I've recently asked the community for the necessary data to undertake such an evaluation.

(16 Mar '11, 11:25) davidpidsley
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Asked: 15 Mar '11, 22:53

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Last updated: 20 Jul, 10:53

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