Procuring for Good, a new report published by Social Enterprise UK, has researched how councils in England consider social value. The study sent freedom of information requests to local authorities across the country to gain a more comprehensive idea of how they are using the Public Services (Social Value) Act, which is in place to ensure social benefit and value for money.
Research found 33% of all local authorities in England routinely consider social value in their procurement and commissioning, and one in four councils has a social value policy. Although this is a step in the right direction, the figures aren’t as high as you would expect.
When local authorities issue a contract out to tender, the question of social value is all but a permanent feature in the ITT questionnaire. The act requires contracting authorities to consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of the good or service being procured at the pre-procurement stage. This is then outlined in the PQQ and tender document, so the bid writer can demonstrate how they provide social value and consider the well-being of the local area. The overall emphasis of the act is that there is a requirement to consider social value benefits when making the contract award decision.
In order to deliver better value for money and to achieve policy goals, more consideration does need to be placed on social value and ensuring a greater social benefit. Research suggests the Act may need to be strengthened to enforce this, especially in the smaller contracting authorities. It could also be necessary to provide more information and training to both local authorities and businesses on this area of practice to ensure social value is considered and evaluated properly when it comes to bidding for and awarding contracts.
Social Enterprise UK
Social Value Act 2012 Tender Questions
As per the Government’s guidance, ‘the Act is a tool to help commissioners get more value for money out of procurement. It also encourages commissioners to talk to their local provider market or community to design better services, often finding new and innovative solutions to difficult problems.’
Over the past couple of years, the topic of social value has been prominent in the majority of PQQ and tender submissions, with companies needing to show their experience of providing social value, mainly across the following areas:
- Using local suppliers
- Reducing waste
- ISO 14001 environmental management systems
- Supporting the local community
- Work opportunities for disadvantaged people
- Volunteer work and supporting local charities.
- Apprenticeships and work placements
- Helping to reduce unemployment.
Social value is a topic on which all the bid writers at Executive Compass are experts. If you need assistance in demonstrating how you will deliver social value in your PQQ or tender submission, contact us today to see how we can help.