With purchasing authorities placing an increased emphasis on social value, what steps can you take to prepare for an upcoming tender?
A frequent question when having conversations with clients about social value is what steps they can take to prepare in advance of a tender being published. It’s important to remember that social value needs to be specific to each tender opportunity, the priorities of the purchasing authority and the needs of the local community where the service is being delivered, as well as being proportionate to the contract value. While second guessing what will be included in the tender isn’t advisable, there are steps you can take to make sure you’re well prepared for when the tender documents land on your desk.
Review your pipeline of future tender opportunities.
Whether you are looking at retendering opportunities or new business, develop a target list of potential buyers. Think about creating a simple matrix or spreadsheet detailing the name of the buyer, where they are located, potential contract spend and duration, and the type of organisation they are: local authority, central government department, arm’s length body, police force, housing association, etc.
Undertake some desktop research.
As well as using your list to track when those tendering opportunities will go live (using free services such as Find a Tender), it provides a good starting point to begin doing some research on how they might incorporate social value into a future tender. For example:
- The type of organisation – this will have a bearing on how they approach social value. If the buyer is a central government department, it is very likely they will by using the Central Government Social Value Model. If they are a local authority take a look at their website and see if they have a social value policy or procurement policy which indicates the use of tools such as National TOMs. Similarly, if they are a housing association, do they have a clear set of social value priorities to support the needs of their tenants?
- Location – are you geographically well-placed to deliver social value activities, or do you need to think about engaging with delivery partners? If so, who will do this and how?
- Duration – is it likely to be a relatively short contract which might preclude commitments such as creating apprenticeship opportunities, or is it a multi-year opportunity, in which case how might you phase your social value activities over the contract duration?
- Contract spend – social value commitments need to be proportionate to the contract value. Having a heads-up will give you a steer on the levels of commitment that might be anticipated.
Social value cuts across multiple divisions and roles within an organisation, whether it’s HR, recruitment, training and development, or the operations and delivery teams, and having input from across the board can greatly enhance your social value proposals. Spend time engaging and putting together a group who will be up to speed and able to support with the bid preparation when the tender goes live.
Review previous tender submissions.
Just as you would for all other aspects of a tender, compile and review your previous social value responses and the feedback from evaluators. This will provide a useful insight on what has previously been well received and pointers for where improvements can be made. Remember though, for each opportunity you always need to respond to the specific social value outcomes being targeted.
Monitoring and reporting.
Purchasing authorities are keen to understand how you will monitor and report on the delivery of your social value commitments. As with any contract management information, give some thought in advance to who will manage this, what systems you might use to capture and report data, and how this will be monitored and reported, both internally and to the purchasing authority.
For more information on responding to social value tender questions, visit our dedicated division The Social Value Practice, contact us free on 0800 612 5563 or email firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
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