The act concerns the benefits you, as a supplier, can bring to a public sector contract to improve the local area you are working in. This can be in many different forms such as providing apprenticeships, working on charitable projects or supporting local enterprise development.
From now on, social value is now becoming a weighted part of the evaluation criteria in tendering: what was originally 60% price and 40% quality will more than likely now be moving to 50% price 40% quality and 10% on social value. In fact social value might make up to 20% of the evaluation criteria as has been noted in the strategic approach of local councils such as Knowsley and Manchester.
Suppliers will also have to effectively manage and monitor their social value activity to prove the promises listed in their tender documents come to fruition.
How do you prepare for social value evaluation?
Understand the concept
Some suppliers fall into the trap of thinking they can shoehorn their existing environmental and sustainability actions to fit and this will rarely prove effective. Read these examples from the Crown Commercial Service to gain an insight into social value in practice.
Engage with your key buyers
Ask direct questions pre-procurement such as ‘What are your important areas of work in social value?’ You might find synergies between buyers and your company ethos.
Look at your work
Sometimes suppliers may be fulfilling the social value criteria but don’t record it or recognise it. For example: Do you employ locally? Support local suppliers in the supply chain? Offer apprenticeships? Do any community or charity work?
Look at gaps and practicalities of implementing new processes
Suppliers need to fill in any gaps they have in social value activities. But, think through the implications of any additional social value measures you might want to put in place. For example, offering apprenticeships will affect your HR team, line managers and the wage bill.
Your social value activities are only as valuable as your ability to prove you have done them and that they have been effective. You need to have case studies, data and statistics to quote in your tenders to demonstrate that you have done what you said you would and that it has made a positive impact socially.
Here are some additional sources of info on The Social Value Act:
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