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How social value has impacted local government procurement in 2021

Posted on 19/08/2021

Social value has long been a victim of oversight, particularly when it comes to the procurement process with only 23% of (343) councils having a clearly published social value strategy online.

Social value is the outcome of organisations efforts to ensure that successful tenders demonstrate a positive contribution to the long-term wellbeing of individuals, communities, and the wider society.

As a quantification of community experiences, moreover, associated financial gain, social value is setting out a new path for public and private sector procurement processes.

This revolutionary shift creates a necessity for businesses to demonstrate their social value contributions as part of the tender process, increasing transparency. But how will this impact communities in the long run?

The Local Government Chronicle reports that reform proposals have been set out by the government in a recent ‘Transforming Public Procurement’ green paper.

The reform proposes the simplification of the current procurement system which will enable the delivery of a new system in the UK that leverages social value, particularly in terms of pandemic recovery.

The National Procurement Policy Statement (NPPS), published in June, sets out social value prioritisations for procurement processes, requiring specific considerations to the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of impacted areas.

While this process remains optional for private sector procurement, Local Government organisations are anticipated to prioritise national and local outcomes where possible (dependant on the contract).

 

The national priorities include:

  • The creation of new businesses, jobs, and skills
  • Positive contributions to the climate change movement and waste reduction
  • Proven improvements to supplier diversity, innovation, and resilience

The National Social Value Taskforce, founded in 2016, was designed with the primary aim of integrating a framework of best practice that overarches a strategy for the consistent reporting, measurement, and management of social value among organisations.

Endorsed by the Local Government Association, The National TOMs framework provides both beginner and advanced guides to the national standard for social value offering. Outlining several aspects for social value optimisation from consistent approaches, continuous improvements and transparent solutions to industry benchmark information, the TOMs framework reduces businesses uncertainty surrounding social value measurement.

Designed to promote 5 key aspects of social value – jobs, growth, social, environment and innovation, the TOMs framework helps organisations in several primary procurement stages including, valuation, procurement, bid submissions and eventually contract management.

The National Social Value Taskforce has also developed a Social Value Statement template which lists several comprehensive elements for self-assessment.

 

The impact of social value

Samantha Ash, Bid Manager at Zunoma comments on the company’s social value stance:

“We are now seeing a major emphasis on social value questions in tenders. As opposed to ‘considering’, authorities must ‘explicitly evaluate’ social value, if reasonable and proportionate to the contract. Some tenders weigh social value as high as 20% of the total possible score – so there is a lot at stake!

Delivering social value is intrinsic to our mission and aligned with our goals of being a responsible and progressive employer. By considering social value in our business decisions; including the ways in which we employ staff, engage with communities, and buy products/services, we understand that we can help cultivate a more sustainable and inclusive society, demonstrating that business done well can be an overriding force for good.

At Zunoma, we are committed to contributing to a more sustainable society and continually improve the positive impacts we make. Our programmes and initiatives are focused on 3 key areas where we strive to make a positive difference:

Economic

  • Creating employment and training opportunities
  • Providing career advice and mentoring
  • Using local suppliers where possible
  • Promoting social value in our supply chain
  • Recognising diversity and tackling workforce inequality

Environment

  • Reducing our carbon footprint
  • Promoting and monitoring sustainability
  • Operating an ISO14001
  • Saving energy and reducing waste

Social

  • Working with ethical suppliers
  • Encouraging community engagement
  • Promoting staff wellbeing
  • Supporting local charities

 

Zunoma’s top 3 tips for meeting the social value measurement:

  • Establish your focus areas – in what ways is your business able to make a positive contribution to social value? Are your contracts likely to enable a certain type of social value measurement to take precedence?
  • Plan your position – internally scrutinise all aspects of the social value planning process to ensure your intended focus areas can be met and any challenges to meet them are recognised and accounted for.
  • Collaboration – building on partnerships and increasing external engagement will enable you to create strong opportunities, build diversity and drive innovation.

 

Get in touch, to find out more about how we are working to improve social value contributions at Zunoma!

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