What do buyers look for in social value procurement?
We’re now seeing public sector buyers implementing social value procurement into their pipelines. So what are they looking for from suppliers?
Social value procurement has become the new norm, with rules and regulations introduced in the past few years. Suppliers should consider how the services they provide to government bodies and the wider public sector may create the positive change these institutions are after. We’ve taken a look at what public sector buyers might be looking for from suppliers…
What are buyers looking for?
Suppliers on the right frameworks
Frameworks are now introducing social value requirements to even get listed on them – especially ones from Crown Commercial Service. For example, the recent Digital Specialists and Programmes (DSP) framework was heavily reliant on demonstrating social value to win a place. Buyers are procuring more through frameworks where a lot of the social value scoring is already done for them at the front end, and there is no need to filter out those providing little to no social value themselves.
Buyers are looking for an easy way to make sure you’re on the same level as them, these frameworks provide a way to do so.
Clear examples and goals in bids
Buyers are increasingly looking for further commitment to bettering society and services for citizens. This means they are looking for suppliers to include tangible evidence and targets of their social value efforts in their bids, as well as in their initial application to any framework. Such evidence may take the form of stats, commitments, goals, and potentially timelines – all of this will put suppliers above the ‘box-tickers’.
Suppliers who measure their social value
It’s brilliant for suppliers to get their social value proposition in order for framework applications and any bids they may have to submit. On top of that though, suppliers need to continue doing the work! We may see more criteria arrive at the call-off stage, with clear measurables defined. Public sector suppliers will be measured according to the social value model (more on that below!) during their contract. Buyers will be looking for the long term! If suppliers are already measuring this internally, you’re helping them out.
How are buyers measuring the extent of social value offered?
There’s been a lot of talk recently about what Social Value looks like and how it’s measured, recorded and demonstrated. Social value is commonly weighted at 10% for most buyers’ evaluation criteria, so it can often be the make or break point of winning a bid.
The public sector uses The Social Value Model, launched in September 2020, to evaluate social value in tender responses. The model covers five main themes: covid-19 recovery, tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change, equal opportunity, and wellbeing. Buyers are provided with a list of Model Evaluation Questions for each policy outcome. However, they may branch out beyond this for additional needs. Procurement teams will score and evaluate suppliers on how their social value matches with their projected outcomes, and how they can measure it moving forward within the contract.
There is currently an ongoing discussion surrounding how best to monitor social value throughout a contract’s lifetime once awarded, but the model will be used to do just that.