Tips for Social Value in Procurement

Top Tips for Delivering Social Value through Procurement

  • Janet Strzebrakowski
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Janet Strzebrakowski
Senior Managing Consultant at Barkers

Written by Janet Strzebrakowski.

Janet has over 30 years' experience in procurement across multiple (private and public sector) clients across diverse industry markets. She has worked in both regulated and non-regulated procurement environments, specialising in taking a pragmatic approach to devising, implementing, leading and supporting procurement programmes.

Social value and procurement are now intrinsically linked following the launch of a new social value model twelve months ago. Initiated on the 1st January 2021, and surpassing the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requirements, the law now requires public sector organisations to appraise suppliers to deliver services that enhance communities.

There is now an obligatory emphasis on social value questions in tenders and PQQ/SQs. From January 2021, a minimum 10% weighting is placed on social value in quality/technical scored responses.

Public sector organisations inviting tenders for major procurements are now obliged to ask potential suppliers about social value by demonstrating social value within bid responses. This is not to say that a similar approach cannot be adopted by the private sector, using similar models, on the contrary, social value topics are equally relevant to corporates.

So how can you deliver social value effectively through procurement? Read our top tips:

  1. Using a tool such as the National TOMS Measurement Framework or Government Commercial Function Model can help both quantify the value of contribution and allow bidders to qualify the value. For example, a split 50/50 percentage (of the 10% score) can be applied to each of the value and qualitative sections when tendering, so that social value contribution values promised are substantiated.
  2. Ensure the measures in your tender are relevant and achievable to the type of service you are tendering.
  3. Be clear as to what social value requirements you are requesting in your tender. Use precise figures, objectives and targets so that the bidder can respond as expected.
  4. Don’t forget to ensure within ongoing contract management that the commitments in bid responses are actually delivered. A social value monitoring, measurement and management tool such as the Social Value Portal could be used.
  5. Don’t forget to incorporate, embed and update social value within your procurement strategy and processes.
  6. Celebrate social value successes within your procurement teams – there are procurement and public sector awards that can be entered – it’s good kudos for your team and organisation, not to mention fun.
  7. Regardless of whether you are a tendering authority or a supplier submitting a bid, do research on the topic – public sector organisations, especially local authorities, publish on their websites specific social, environmental, or charitable agendas such as strategic economic or social plans. This information provides helpful insight into social value topics.
  8. Learn from other organisations – set up a social value forum with similar organisations as your own to share ideas or issues. An example of great collaboration can be found in the Seven Forces case study below.

How Barkers supported Seven Forces Police Collaboration to Deliver Enhanced Social Value Through Procurement

Seven Police Force Collaboration

Barkers recently supported the Seven Forces Police Collaboration with its major FM procurements. The Seven Forces Police Collaboration consist of seven police forces seeking to pool resources and take a united approach to procurement that delivers more than just cost saving targets. Social value within the Seven Forces is seen as an integral part of its supply chain. The Police Commissioners have a vested interest in creating social value within their communities and contribution to social value forms an important part of the Authority’s Police and Crime Plans.

Social value contribution ensures communities and local supply chains are engaged and benefit from social value investment. The tendering process explores and measures potential suppliers on how they will contribute to and engage with the local community.

Appropriate social value criteria for the three main FM tender procurements were selected from the National Social Value Measurement Framework – Themes, Outcomes and Measures (TOMs) Framework in line with principles laid out within the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.  Specific themes were chosen to be scored in bidders’ responses within the technical evaluation section in order for bidders to demonstrate relevant social value that could be delivered within their supply chain processes.

The new Seven Forces FM suppliers committed within their bids to delivering £29.6m of social value over the next four years covering aspects including more local people in employment, more working with the community (cash, materials or manpower donated to local community projects), reduced carbon emissions, more opportunities for disadvantaged people and promotion of ethical procurement.

Barkers too is committed to contributing to the community. Find out more about the social value we deliver.

Author: Janet Strzebrakowski