In accordance with our client’s preferences and requirements, training was delivered via Microsoft Teams. This allowed delegates working remotely to attend and benefit from interactive sessions which facilitated understanding of social value, its importance in public sector tendering and effective strategies for implementation.
Our client was an international software development and digital services company, delivering complex solutions to public sector, commercial and corporate organisations, with nearly 50,000 employees and offices in 26 countries around the world. Following the introduction of PPN 06/20, which prescribes a minimum weighting of 10% for social value within central government tender evaluations, directors recognised the growing importance of social value in public procurement. This was particularly relevant as the central government is the purchasing authority for the vast majority of our client’s UK-based contracts.
To effectively deliver the client’s requirements, Stephen:
- Conducted independent research on our client to determine their social value maturity, past offerings and which initiatives would best align with their organisational strategy
- Designed and implemented a tailored training programme which was suited to the size and scope of the organisation
- Produced two separate training sessions with varying emphasis and subject matter depending on the level of knowledge required
- Provided consultative support on the in-house bid team’s creation of a monitoring and reporting methodology for future opportunities.
Following initial contact, Stephen held a consultation call with our client’s lead to further understand their desired goals and outcomes from the training sessions. In accordance with changing legislation, the client had established an internal social value taskforce, led by one of its UK-based executives, to enhance team knowledge and understanding of the role of social value in public procurement processes. Nevertheless, the organisation still identified themselves as social value novices, and therefore outlined the following objectives:
- Upskilling internal teams on social value, extending beyond their bid team to other internal stakeholders relevant to the procurement process
- Gain confidence in engaging with contracting authorities on social value innovation and engaging with representatives to implement internally designed initiatives
- Effectively respond to tendering opportunities which would allow them to successfully deliver and evidence their social value offerings.
Stephen drafted a client-specific proposal in accordance with the aims outlined above, using them as tenets to create a bespoke training plan for delegates at all levels. To ensure the sessions were pitched at the right level, he also delivered a short pilot presentation to directors and senior managers who comprised the client’s social value taskforce. Following their approval, the sessions were rostered onto the company and invitations issued via Microsoft Teams.
Level 1 Training
Two half-day introductory courses were delivered to 70 delegates, split into 35 for each session to ensure manageable numbers for participation. The overall programme comprised:
- Clarifying definitions of social value by establishing a single idea of what social value means and examples of what it looks like, both in theory and in practice
- Reviewing thought leadership on social value from procurement experts, such as the introduction of social value models and expected changes in light of the upcoming Procurement Bill
- Presenting practical examples of social value in action, including an interactive exercise where delegates identified corporate activities in which the client was already engaged, and how these could be altered in accordance with purchasing authority priorities on future opportunities.
The course concluded with a question-and-answer session, where delegates had the opportunity to clarify any topics or terminology to Stephen.
Level 2 Training
The second course, reserved for the client’s subject matter experts and in-house bid team, provided a more comprehensive approach to social value. Participants began by reviewing PPN 06/20 and examining the central government model, including the following themes and policy outcomes:
|Social value theme||Social value outcome|
|COVID-19 recovery||Helping local communities recover from the impact of COVID-19 through employment, community initiatives, enhancing community health and altering workplace conditions.|
|Tackling economic inequality||Creating new businesses, jobs and skills through employment, supporting supply chain growth and industry-specific education and training.|
|Fighting climate change||Effective stewardship of the environment by working towards net zero emissions and volunteering opportunities, such as enhancing local green spaces.|
|Equal opportunity||Tackling workforce inequality and reducing the disability employment gap by monitoring workforce equality measures, supporting in-work progression and helping disabled individuals to develop new skills.|
|Wellbeing||Improving health and wellbeing by providing mental health support, collaborating in codesign and delivery of services and raising awareness of mental health in the community.|
After, Stephen led a workshop in recognising how to produce detailed, substantial and high-quality social value method statements which align with the central government’s themes and outcomes. Buyers are also interested in tenderers’ systems for monitoring and reporting progress against commitments. To address this, Stephen also led an interactive session on systems for continuous monitoring and reporting, including assigning task ownership and gathering sufficient evidence to substantiate claims.
Lastly, Stephen challenged our client’s in-house bid team to create example social value initiatives which could be feasibly offered as part of method statements. This included a collaborative programme with the Ministry of Justice, which supports ex-offenders to find employment, and a STEM outreach programme to discover talented individuals in deprived areas, supporting early careers.
Following the end of the programme, the client contacted us to express their satisfaction with the training sessions, with individual feedback from delegates praising Stephen’s informative and cohesive approach to providing foundational social value knowledge. Subject matter experts from the second session also appreciated the specific advice and examples illustrated for drafting social value method statements. Furthermore, they expressed excitement at the opportunities that social value offered in advancing community wellbeing and fostering positive change within public procurement.