Demonstrating social value

Solar energy panel photovoltaic cell and wind turbine farm power generator in nature landscape for production of renewable green energy is friendly industry. Clean sustainable development concept.

‘Please provide details of any social value your firm can provide in relation to this contract’

We are increasingly coming across the topic of social value when reviewing tender documents. It is usually in the form of a general question asking how the supplier will provide social value. Some tenders go further, requesting a certain degree of specificity from bidders. This may be in the form of financial or staffing commitments to help achieve a particular objective of the contract, such as using local suppliers or providing work experience opportunities for people in the area.

What is social value?

Under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, public authorities are required to consider how the procurement process may improve economic, social and environmental conditions in local communities. This is reflected in evaluation criteria recognising the wider benefits of social value in public procurement.

The Act does not at present oblige authorities to adhere to the principles of social value when procuring services, goods or works. It is, however, widely anticipated that future amendments to the legislation will go beyond merely considering the issue, requiring authorities to explicitly ask questions around social value in tender documents, with relevant contractual requirements also in place to reflect this.

We therefore expect that social value questions will become a mainstay of tenders going forward. Bidders must therefore show that they are able to provide resources and solutions to convincingly answer this.

So how can I demonstrate social value?

Think about how your current operations achieve benefits in terms of social, environmental and economic improvements. You could be offering apprenticeships, taking steps to improve your waste management, or have a policy to give your staff a day off each year for volunteer work.

This can translate into commitments you can make as part of your tender, where you can explain how you will provide your services, goods or works in a way which enhances social value for the procuring authority.

For example, in a recent bid for removal of hazardous materials from public spaces, we provided a case study explaining how our client provides collection systems to clean and reuse wastewater in its operations. There was also a commitment in the bid that the Contract Manager for the works would attend local education institutions to talk to young people about the environmental benefits of the works and inform them about the dangers of exposure to hazardous materials.

For more information about our successful approach to bidding and the tendering process, give our Sales and Account Manager, Sam Nimmo, a call for a no obligation chat on 01491 902021 or e-mail him at