It has been over ten years since The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 was introduced, and more purchasing authorities are now including social value as a crucial part of the quality element of the Invitation to Tender (ITT).
The sub-weightings for social value can now range between 5-30%. Additionally, the 2020 Green Paper on public procurement highlights a shift in the contract award process, moving away from the ‘most economically advantageous tender’ to prioritise social value and public benefits in the award criteria.
As social value gains more attention, it is important to ensure that your commitments are seamlessly integrated into overall service delivery after contract award.
Here are some tips from Bid Writing Services to help you successfully implement social value.
Are Your Social Value Timescales Deliverable?
Are you ready to take your social value commitments to the next level? It’s not just about ticking boxes and making empty promises.
The delivery of these commitments is a key performance indicator that buyers will be keeping a watchful eye on throughout the contract term.
So, it’s time to step up your game and ensure that your commitments are not only relevant, comprehensive, and unambiguous but also realistic and achievable.
While it may be tempting to go all out and offer as much as possible, evaluators are looking for quality and achievability rather than just quantity.
This means that you need to offer commitments that are proportionate to the value and geographic area of the contract.
But don’t worry, this approach will not only facilitate smooth implementation but also allow SMEs to stay competitive.
To ensure that your social value commitments are woven into the fabric of your delivery plan, you need to integrate them into look-ahead schedules.
This means building commitments into delivery schedules, employee rostering, and staff training for apprenticeships/work placements.
By doing so, you can ensure that your commitments are given the attention they deserve and are not treated as an afterthought.
But wait, there’s more! It’s important to spread your commitments throughout the year rather than front-loading or back-loading them.
This will prevent any impact on labour resources, delivery of work streams, and unanticipated peaks in demand. Instead, consider uniformly allocating time-bound commitments, such as volunteer days or supporting community projects, across the year or contract duration.
This approach will ensure that your commitments are delivered consistently and don’t disrupt the overall delivery plan.
So, let’s recap. By carefully planning your timescales and offering commitments that are proportionate and achievable, you can deliver on your promises and meet the expectations of buyers.
But it’s not just about what you promise, it’s how you deliver on those promises that counts.
So, go ahead and take your social value commitments to the next level. The future of your business and the communities you serve depend on it!
Use Your Resources
Engaging with buyers and authority representatives can be a game-changer when it comes to delivering maximum social value impact.
By tapping into their local knowledge and aligning commitments with local needs, you can create a positive impact that resonates with the community. But how exactly can you do that?
One way is to leverage ‘pre-start meetings’ as a forum to access priceless local knowledge.
This can help you identify areas that need the most attention, such as employment, local growth, community health, and local environmental concerns.
For instance, you can discuss ways to provide targeted apprenticeships, work placements, and new employment opportunities for the most deprived areas of a local authority/procurement area.
You can also identify opportunities to support local supply chains or provide insight and business advice to emerging small/micro businesses.
Furthermore, you can focus on projects in high demand or serious need of support, such as community clean-ups or in-kind contributions to local food banks.
Finally, you can signpost to local environmental stakeholders, initiatives, and waste management providers, allowing for a localised environmental impact.
To help you identify potential partners, the Social Value Portal has endorsed sites such as Neighbourly, which has over 20,000 vetted charities across the UK.
While it is important to demonstrate your own research and commitment to identifying social value opportunities, representatives can supplement your offerings by providing local insight and direction to your ideas.
With the right approach, you can build strong relationships with buyers and authority representatives and create a positive social impact that benefits everyone involved.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
When it comes to demonstrating compliance and facilitating continuous improvement, communicating progress is key.
This is especially true for key performance indicators, which need to be reviewed regularly to ensure that commitments are being fulfilled.
Make sure you’re appointing a member of your staff to be the key liaison and communication hub between your company and the purchasing party.
But what should these communications include?
First and foremost, you should provide proof of employment and apprenticeships, such as payslips verifying Real Living Wage compliance and qualifications gained as part of apprenticeship schemes.
This can help to demonstrate your commitment to creating meaningful employment opportunities and investing in your workforce.
In addition, you should track the amount or percentage of supply chain spend within the purchasing authority’s administrative boundaries and circulating within the local economy.
Invoices can be used to substantiate these claims and can help to demonstrate your commitment to supporting local businesses and driving economic growth.
When it comes to environmental commitments, quantified reports are key. For instance, you may want to report on your progress in reducing landfill waste or carbon emissions.
Waste transfer notices or The SME Climate Hub’s emissions calculator can be used to substantiate these claims and demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
Finally, it’s important to record the number of attendees and qualitative feedback from volunteering events.
This can help to demonstrate your commitment to community engagement and social responsibility and can provide valuable feedback for buyer representatives to review.
By establishing a transparent and consistent communication strategy, utilising, as noted, a single voice from your company, you can assure buyers that you are on track to deliver your offerings as agreed.
This will also help to reinforce the importance of timescales and social value offerings within your own organisation and can help to build strong relationships with purchasing authorities over time (potentially leading to future lucrative contracts).
Work With Us
Our Bid Writing Service is perfectly placed to offer expert guidance and support on your next bid. Be it the construction sector, cleaning industry, rail network, or security services.
We offer a number of services, from comprehensive start-to-finish bid writing management to review services.
BWS can also advise on how to demonstrate social value and how best to implement it for your specific business.