Social Value Model: Evaluating social value in tenders
The Social Value Model is used by the public sector to evaluate social value in tender responses. Here's the info you need.
Since the launch of The Social Value Model (2020) back in September 2020, we have heard lots about what social value is and its themes. The new model seeks to rapidly strengthen social value within procurement, and with £49 billion per annum of public spending potentially affected, there is a huge scope to improve the delivery of social value!
For potential public sector suppliers, this poses the question “How will social value be evaluated in future tenders?” We have taken the time to breakdown all you need to know! This blog will answer “How will social value be evaluated in future tenders?” by taking a look at the weighting of social value in tenders, examples of social value questions and how these questions will be evaluated.
An outline of the Social Value model:
There are five main themes within the model and eight subsequent policy outcomes relating to each theme.
- Theme 1 COVID-19 recovery
Policy outcome: Help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of COVID-19.
- Theme 2 Tackling economic inequality
Policy outcome: Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills.
Policy outcome: Increase supply chain resilience and capacity.
- Theme 3 Fighting climate change
Policy outcome: Effective stewardship of the environment.
- Theme 4 Equal opportunity
Policy outcome: Reduce the disability employment gap.
Policy outcome: Tackle workforce inequality.
- Theme 5 Wellbeing
Policy outcome: Improve health and wellbeing.
Policy outcome: Improve community cohesion.
Who does the model apply to?
- Commercial practitioners at all levels within central government departments,
- Executive agencies
- Non departmental public bodies (referred to in this document as ‘in-scope organisations’)
In addition to the roles above, the guide states that in order to be effective, the model will also be useful to roles within finance, policy or planning and delivery. This will ensure that there is an understanding throughout an organisation of how to account for social value throughout the procurement lifecycle, especially at the pre-procurement stage.
What other policies does the model relate to?
- Social value and the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012
- The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
- The Equality Act 2010
- Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)
- The Public Contracts Regulations 2015
- The Civil Society Strategy 2018
Social value questions in tenders
The SVM provides buyers with a list of Model Evaluation Questions for each policy outcome.
Each of the Model Evaluation Questions asks for the following:
- A ‘Method Statement’, stating how suppliers will achieve this and how their commitment meets the Award Criteria.
- A timed project plan and process, including how suppliers will implement their commitment.
However, buyers may develop evaluation questions and criteria in cases whereby they have additional needs which relate to the SVM’s policy outcomes. In these instances, buyers must ensure the following:
- Ensure relevance to the subject matter of the contract
- Respond to intelligence gained through pre-tender market engagement
- Ensure compliance with the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination and proportionality.
- Satisfy/achieve specific departmental policy objectives.
Weighting of social value in tenders
How will the social value tenders be weighted? A minimum overall weighting for social value of 10% of the overall score is mandated whenever any of the social value policy outcomes are included in the procurement. Buyers may increase this depending on their opportunity. It should be noted that within this 10%, the buyer will need to allocate appropriate weightings within procurements to each of the evaluation criteria it has included under social value.
However, there may be exceptions to the weighting. The only permissible exception to this minimum 10% is when pre-market engagement demonstrates that the approach would significantly reduce competition due to a lack of market maturity in delivering social value.
The SVM does not provide buyers with one specified marking scheme, however, allows buyers to score bids using one of the below:
- A 5-band scoring regime
For example, a buyer could score a bid 5 (Excellent), whilst a non-response or complete failure to meet the required standard would score 0 (Fail).
- Pass or fail
Any tenderer meeting the acceptable standard would pass. Any tenderer not meeting it would fail and their tender would be excluded.
When deciding how to score a social value question, it is advised that buyers make the following consideration: Whilst the pass/ fail marking scheme allows contracting authorities to set a minimum standard, it does not allow for any differentiation in scoring under the specified criterion between tenderers who achieve a pass.
Scoring social value in tenders
- Buyers must assess and score the quality of the social value offered in the tender against the selected policy outcome/s at evaluation stage, in the same way as they would do for any other evaluation criteria designed to assess quality.
- Buyers must award marks against the objective on a tender-by-tender basis (i.e., quality responses must not be compared against each other for the purpose of scoring).
- Buyers should use the provided Model Award Criteria (MAC) to score tenders, as well as assessing MEAT. There are menus of Model Award Criteria (MAC) Sub-Criteria for each of the policy outcomes in the Social Value Model (‘the Model’).