Social value: UK Government to give greater priority to the social impacts of public procurement


  • General news

02 October 2020

Social value

Last week the Cabinet Office announced that businesses seeking to win government work will have to set out how they will deliver on social value priorities.

From 1 January 2021, all central government departments will evaluate contract bids on the social, economic and environmental benefits they offer; notably in supporting the recovery from COVID-19, tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change and reducing waste, driving equal opportunity, and improving health and wellbeing.

Under the new model each contract will carry a minimum 10% social value (there will be some flexibility in deciding which of the outcomes should be applied to the particular procurement) with a measurement framework based on a series of themes, outcomes and metrics.

The new measures follow growing cross-sector calls for a greater focus on quality, sustainability and transparency in public procurement and are the latest in a series government procurement reforms since the collapse of Carillion in January 2018

Our Head of Policy, Sofie Hooper, said of the announcement:

‘We warmly welcome this important step forward. With government spending £49bn each year on public procurement, embedding social value within contracts will clearly have an impact on the entire supply chain and has the potential to transform procurement standards and best practice. The new model offers greater opportunities for socially responsible, forward-thinking suppliers, particularly SMEs and social enterprises, to demonstrate the full extent of the value they would generate.

‘We have long advocated a procurement approach that prioritises the delivery of quality, transparency and social value principles. In partnership with the Social Value Portal, we have driven progress on a sector-specific National Themes Outcomes and Measures (TOMs) “plug-in” designed to help FM organisations maximise, measure and report on the social value they create through the sourcing and delivery of their services. The “plug-in” framework and guidance will be available later this year.

‘Social value continues to gain traction as a way to embed organisations’ increasing focus on the longer-term environmental, economic and social impacts into FM procurement and contractual performance and measurement,. This trend has been clearly identified through our annual sustainability surveys and we look forward to the findings of the latest survey, which were revealed at 12pm on Thursday 1 October in our latest Navigating turbulent times’ webinar.’

Further details of the Government’s new procurement model can be found here.