The 2012 act merely required social value to be ‘considered’, whereas the Social Value 2021 Model mandates that it must be ‘explicitly evaluated in all central government procurement’, and given a minimum 10% weighting of a tender’s total score.

As detailed in the Procurement Policy Note (PPN 06/20), the new social value model is divided into five main themes, together with their associated policy outcomes:

  • Covid-19 recovery – Help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of Covid-19, Tackling economic inequality
  • Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills – Increase  supply chain resilience and capacity, Fighting climate change
  • Effective stewardship of the environment – Equal Opportunity
  • Reduce the disability employment gap – Tackle workforce inequality
  • Wellbeing- Improve health and wellbeing
  • Improve community integration

Within these themes and outcomes, the PPN provides guidance on activities and objectives that companies should undertake to enact social value across the contract. The PPN suggests that ‘commercial teams should select objectives that are relevant and proportionate to their procurement’, meaning that delivery objectives will vary according to each particular industry and contract. However, in our experience, the most common objectives include:

  • Creating training and employment opportunities, and supporting educational attainment within the local and wider community.
  • A collaborative approach to working with a diverse supply chain.
  • Adherence to relevant environmental standards, as well as commitment to working towards the Government’s ‘Net-Zero’ Carbon policy objective.
  • Representation of disabled, minority and other disadvantaged groups within the contract workforce.
  • Support for physical and mental health and wellbeing within the contract workforce.
  • Providing support for everything mentioned above, in the context of Covid-19 (e.g. employment support for those left unemployed by Covid-19, supporting physical and mental health of people affected by Covid-19, etc.).

Supplementing this, social value bid responses must detail proposed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other metrics to measure social value adherence throughout the contract.

The increased importance of social value on tender evaluation may seem daunting to begin with, but once the initial work on alignment is completed, subsequent tenders become much more straightforward. Our experience is that the assessment criteria for social value do not vary significantly between bids. As the PPN states, ‘the process for defining social value will be standardised’ in order to achieve ‘consistency’. Additionally, social value is assessed qualitatively, not quantitively, meaning that SMEs and VCSEs will still be able to compete with large companies for public sector work.

NewBusiness.Dev has provided consultation for many companies seeking to align their practices to the new model, allowing us to craft high scoring responses on social value for many bids, and ultimately help our clients win extremely lucrative contracts.

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