The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 became law on the 8th March 2012 and was live from 31st January 2013. The public sector must now consider social value as part of any procurement. So now you may have to respond to social value tender questions when bidding for public sector contracts.
Social Value and Procurement
The Act requires authorities to make the following considerations at the pre-procurement stage:
- How what is proposed to be procured might improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of the “relevant area”
- How in conducting a procurement process it might act with a view to securing that improvement
We are now seeing much more focus on social value questions in tenders and PQQs.
Social Value Tender Questions
Social value tender questions can appear daunting at first. But once you start to understand social value, they become a lot easier. These types of tender questions can also help local businesses to score higher than non-local competitors. The reason is that they are already contributing to their local “relevant area”. For example:
Economic – employment, training and work-experience opportunities for local people.
Environmental – local staff, local suppliers and local work reduces your carbon footprint.
Social – supporting local community initiatives e.g. charities, local amateur sports teams etc.
Many of the terms used by councils and government can be confusing: “social integration and community cohesion” and “community development and engagement“. But in fact most of it is common sense. Here are some typical areas for social value and how you might respond:
- Local jobs created and sustained
- Work placement schemes for schools and colleges
- Training opportunities e.g. your own staff, work-experience and customer staff
- Taking people out of unemployment
- Using local suppliers
- Any other local investment
- Reducing carbon footprint / pollution
- Minimising waste e.g. re-use and recycling
- Using environmentally friendly goods
- Saving energy e.g. energy efficient lighting and equipment
- Sustainability e.g. FSC timber products
- ISO 14001 environmental management systems
- Supporting local charities
- Helping local community groups e.g. amateur sports clubs or social groups
- Ethical supply e.g. Fair Trade
- Community engagement e.g. involving local residents
- Promoting social integration e.g. work opportunities for disadvantaged people
- Supporting local culture and heritage
Most businesses are already doing many of these activities and therefore contributing to social value. You just have to look outside some of the confusing terms and state what your company does. Does anybody have any other ideas about answering social value tender questions?