Social value is one of the biggest buzzwords in the world of tendering right now and since the initiation of the Public Services Act 2021 it is a requirement that all businesses include a commitment to social value in their tenders. Social value refers to the benefits a project will bring to the socio-economic and environmental conditions of the area you will be working in. When tendering it is important to promote sustainable and ethical operations.
Social value is commonly broken down into three sections, social, economic, and environmental factors. The social aspect of social value refers to what benefits will your work bring to local people. This means anything that will alleviate unemployment, create opportunities, combat local social issues, and other similar impacts of your work factor into the social aspects of social value. The economic and environmental aspects are more obvious referring to how you will benefit the local economy and the local and wider environment respectively.
- Spell it Out
Businesses reviewing a bid do not have the time to fish out a clear answer in a response to a question. It is essential that you do not waste time or space in a bid not answering the question. The best way to approach a question about social value is to create a subheading for social, economic, and environmental value that your project will bring. By making your answer so clear and well structured you are saving the reviewer time and will pick up marks more quickly than if you were to write a large paragraph covering all this information without any clear structure of signposting for the reader.
- Realise its all Linked
Social value is a topic which can be tricky for a lot of people working on a bid, and while economic value is almost always the easiest to answer, the other two aspects of social value prove difficult for many people. It is key to understand that the different aspects of social value are all actually linked and this can help you think about social value in a more productive way. Economically your project may create jobs or skills training in the area you will work in, this then means that you will benefit the area socially by alleviating unemployment and providing opportunities to locals to improve their standard of living. You may be working on an environmental angle by committing to a green approach to your work or combatting litter in the area. This can tie into your social value by improving the mental health of locals through urban cleaning and a better environment for them to live in.
- Don’t Reach
While you can link aspects of your social value answer together it is important that you don’t reach with your claims. What this means is that you need to make sure that you are only including claims in your answer that can easily be substantiated and will be likely to be delivered on. It is easy to get carried away with your social value response so you need to be realistic in your approach. The last thing you want is to be overlooked because of a social value question that feels like it is making a reach in its response. Think practically and realistically.
- Look at the Weighting
When completing a bid for a tender it is important to always pay close attention to the weighting of each question and the guidelines of each question. It is essential that you use this information to dictate how much time and effort you dedicate to answering the question on social value. Some businesses will pay very little attention to it, only weighing about 5% of a total bid, mostly to pay lip service to the new legislation around social value. Other businesses will give it a much higher weighting and the question will determine if you win a bid or not. It is essential that you pay close attention to the weighting when answering the question.
- Appreciate the Importance in Social Value
While not all businesses will give social value a great deal of importance you should accept that social value is an important part of what you do. The world of business has certain responsibilities to bring social value to an area and it is important that you appreciate that. You should pay close attention to how your operations can bring social value to an area that you work in and this will in the long run make social value questions so much easier to answer on a bid.
Don’t let yourself be tripped up by social value questions on a bid. While they are a new thing that we all are still learning about, that doesn’t mean you will fail to answer these questions well if you follow our advice. Bid writing in general is a complicated and labour intensive skill so for many businesses it is better to outsource this work to a professional who can yield better results. Find out more about why outsourcing a bid writer can be a great move here and more about JGP Consultancy’s bid writing services here.