The Importance of Social Value in Tendering

Social value is an important aspect of modern tendering and bid-writing. It is essential that you and your business are capable of responding to the questions related to the social value that may and will occur as part of a bidding process. It is also key that you are able to understand and evidence how your company is going above and beyond the expectations to stand out as a socially conscious partner for a business to tender with.

Social Value is a buzz term in the world of tendering and bid-writing at the moment. But what does this actually mean? It is important that you come to understand what this means because Social Value is playing a major role in how businesses go forward with tenders.

Social Value refers to the benefits a project will make to the socio-economic, and environmental wellbeing of a locality when tendering to promote sustainable and ethical operations. This has been a major factor in tendering since the initiation of the Public Services Act in 2021. This outlines that businesses must include Social Value commitments into their tendering contracts and proposals.

Social Value is normally divided into three sectors, these are social, economic, and environmental factors.

Social

Social factors relate to how a project benefits or impacts the local community. If your project is going to create jobs, combat local social issues, support grassroots organisations and projects in your community, or promote the development of local culture and heritage, you’re providing social benefit to the area.

Economic

Economic factors relate to how you are benefiting the local economy. A lot of the things that bring economic growth to an area also have positive social impacts so be aware that you can explain one aspect of your work having multiple benefits. If your project is going to create jobs, training opportunities, apprenticeships, or offer work experience placements to local schools then you are bringing economic growth to an area. Economic factors can also be who you work with, are you working with local suppliers or businesses? Are you going to be committed to employing people from disadvantaged backgrounds? If the answer to these questions is yes you are meeting the economic aspect of Social Value.

Environmental

Environmental benefits are not what you can bring to an area but what you are doing to ensure you aren’t damaging the local and wider environment. Are you committed to reducing your carbon footprint? Are you using sustainable products and minimising waste through recycling or reusing byproducts? Are you ensuring that you are conforming to environmental laws and policies that apply to the area you are operating in? If you are making sure you are mindful of the environmental impacts of your work and take active steps to minimise these impacts you are meeting the environmental aspect of Social Value.

What makes Social Value an Important part of Tendering?

For businesses who aspire to grow through tendering it is important that you are able to show with clear evidence that you are committed to upholding social value in your work. The business world, especially in the public sector, is increasingly aware of the key need to uphold social value in their own work and will only want to work with contractors with similar commitments.

Companies are keen to avoid accusations of ‘greenwashing’ (when false claims of ethical practice are made) and will be keen to know that if they work with you that down the line their own reputation will be upheld. In a recent webinar conducted by the National Social Value Taskforce, it was explained that social value exceeds the bare minimum a business needs to be doing and is about going above and beyond.

The Government recently published a new Procurement Policy Note in June of this year (the National Procurement Policy Statement). This note outlines that contracting authorities need to consider new specific social values in tandem with other local priorities. Some national priority values are creating new jobs and skills training, tackling climate change, and improving the diversity of suppliers, engaging in innovative developments in industry, and resilience.

How is Social Value Calculated?

Different authorities and local councils will have their own methods for working out how much social value a project will bring to a local area. Normally they will use a system that focuses on key themes, outcomes, and measures (TOMs). This approach is becoming more and more formalised, especially by local councils using the Social Value Portal. This is a website that annually publishes a set of measures local councils can use to measure social value.

When calculating social value it is key to state your aims and commitments, and how you will achieve this with some evidence to prove how you have met similar goals in the past. Statistics and testimonies will be great evidence to use.

What questions you may be asked as part of a bidding process?

When bidding for a tender you may be asked any number of social value questions addressing the social, economic, and environmental aspects of your project. These can be any number of different questions and you need to be prepared to answer all of them in your bid.

Some examples include:

  • How will your project create new opportunities for employment and growth of a rich skills base in the local area?
  • How will your project work to eliminate inequalities and social discrepancies in your local area?
  • What major benefits to protected communities can your project bring?
  • How will you ensure your supply chain is ethical?
  • What measures will you be taking to reduce the ecological impacts of your project?
  • In what ways will you ensure you are minimising waste and reusing materials and byproducts to reduce environmental impact?

Social value is an important aspect of modern tendering and bid-writing. It is essential that you and your business are capable of responding to the questions related to the social value that may and will occur as part of a bidding process. It is also key that you are able to understand and evidence how your company is going above and beyond the expectations to stand out as a socially conscious partner for a business to tender with.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *