Social value and added value are two different topics which can often become confused when writing a tender response. We discuss the two areas and how to address them in your bid.
Social value questions often appear when you are applying for a contract with a local authority or government organisation. The Public Services (Social Value) Act, which came into force in 2012, requires those who commission public services to think carefully about securing wider social, economic and environmental benefits for the local area. This means that bidders are increasingly expected to demonstrate the collective value they will deliver for the local community, if awarded the contract.
This is not, however, to be confused with added value, which helps the commissioner to determine where cost savings can be made on the contract. Added value questions are looking for areas in which you will generate value for money, perhaps in terms of exceptional service delivery, or innovations. These questions allow you to highlight a distinctive edge in terms of real value, and one which sets you apart from competitors.
Ultimately, the key difference between the two is that social value delivers benefits on a wider scale to the local community, whereas added value consists of measurable savings specifically made to benefit the commissioner and their customers.
How to Apply these Differences
Social value questions can be extremely broad. Therefore, the most effective way to tackle these responses is often to split them into three sections: economic, social and environmental. Although there is a level of crossover, structuring your response clearly helps to ensure you have covered all bases:
- Economic benefits can be anything from the employment of local people to having an apprenticeship or work experience scheme in place. Use of a local supply chain and supporting small businesses also demonstrates a commitment to boosting the local economy.
- Social benefits relate to corporate social responsibility, charitable initiatives, or support for community investment projects.
- Environmental benefits are often overlooked in social value responses; however, reducing impact on the environment is a central part of protecting the local community, for example, decreasing pollution through a reduction in CO2
Added value questions are far more focused on real, tangible savings made for the authority. These responses can also be broken down into sections, depending on which relate to your service. Some examples of added value measures include:
- Financial savings that will be transferred across to the client, e.g. by reducing their costs when you obtain a discount from a supplier.
- Any additional small-scale works delivered for free or at a reduced cost such as replacing light bulbs.
- Advanced technology or software systems which reduce administration or streamline the scheduling of work.
Added value responses deliver the most impact when they clearly outline what benefits these measures have already brought about, and how, specifically, they will improve cost or efficiency on this contract.
It is important to recognise the difference between social value and added value responses, to avoid missing the point of the question entirely. These questions should then be used as a positive channel through which you can really ‘show off’ the things your company is particularly proud of, and demonstrate why you are the ideal candidate for this contract.