Social value has become increasingly important for central government, national governments around the world, and the private sector too.
Although social value has been a legal requirement for any procurement exercise since 2012, but it remains an often vaguely understood term.
Despite a Government review in 2015 which recommended that “[the] measurement of social value needs to be developed,” there is still little specific guidance as to what measures organisations need to implement to fulfil this requirement.
That said, this leaves buying organisations with the flexibility to define ‘social value’ in a way that is most fitting to their industry and their way of working.
This blog will help you to discover more about social value and if it is something your business can deliver.
So, what is social value?
Social value may mean a commitment to environmental issues in procurement, for example ensuring sustainable or low-carbon practices are prioritised.
But social value can also encompass elements that are ‘closer to home’ for businesses. The fact that companies treat their employees well is a type of ‘social value’ as paying the living wage to all workers, for example, contributes both to employee wellbeing and the local economy.
Social value can also be achieved by supporting the local economy in other ways such as offering apprenticeships or offering opportunities to the long-term unemployed or workers with disabilities or other disadvantages. You can also achieve social value by considering these types of issues when sub-contracting or selecting your supply chain.
Are you delivering on social value?
Social value is only set to become more important, since both the Government and service users are increasingly aware of, and concerned by, issues such as sustainability and workers’ rights.
Businesses that merely pay lip service to social value therefore risk being left behind in a competitive market that is focused on more than just price.
For suppliers looking to win more business in the public sector, positioning themselves as able to deliver on social value will help set them apart from other potential competitors.
That said, there is little consistency in measuring whether, or how, ‘social value’ is delivered. Moreover, despite it being a legal requirement, scrutiny as to whether businesses deliver ‘social value’ in terms of the Social Value Act, and consequences if they do not, are lacking.
However, this could change. At Procurex Wales 2020, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd Rebecca Evans spoke about how the Welsh govt is developing a set of tools to measure social value. These tools will be aligned to the Future Generations Wellbeing Goals and will place a proxy financial value on all community benefit measures. They will be included in all council tenders over £150k. The social value element will account for at least 10% of the tender score.
While the Welsh Government is leading the way on the measurement of social value, it is more than possible that other buyers may develop similar tools as economic pressures drive social value up the agenda.
If you are unsure whether your organisation is delivering on social value or not, Tracker will discuss Social Value during our next webinar, using examples, discussing the challenges and opportunities it provides for suppliers and suggesting practical steps that will help differentiate your bids from those of your competitors.
This webinar will take place on Oct 22, 2020 between 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.
Get buyers to notice your hard work
It is crucial that suppliers emphasise their efforts in creating social value in their responses to tenders to help buyers take notice of them.
Our range of business intelligence tools can allow you to respond to tenders in the way that will help position you as equipped to deliver multiple types of value.
Tracker is a detailed business intelligence solution that offers access to the largest public sector tenders and awards database in Europe. Details of previous contracts, accessible through features like Spend Analysis and Archive Data, can help businesses understand what buyers are spending where and who they have done business with before – allowing for a better understanding of what social value elements you can emphasise to fit in with buyers’ requirements, or to set yourself apart from other suppliers.
Talking to buyers ahead of tenders being drawn up – early engagement – will also allow you to have a better sense of what buying organisations are looking for and show them how your solution can help. Building buyer-supplier relationships can allow organisations to position themselves as known figures in the marketplace, and even help shape tenders.
Learn more about early engagement and how Tracker can support businesses providing social value by booking a demo with a member of our team.