From 1 January 2021, demonstrating social value will become more important for winning tenders for public sector contracts, giving SMEs more opportunities to access government supply chains.
The government’s updated procurement model will take greater account of a bidder’s social value score in assessments; evaluating them by the wider positive benefits they bring to society. This will include:
Supporting the COVID-19 recovery, including helping local communities
Tackling economic inequality, including creating new businesses, jobs and skills, as well as increasing supply chain resilience
Fighting climate change and reducing waste
Driving equal opportunity, including reducing the disability employment gap, tackling workforce inequality and improving health & wellbeing and community integration.
Level playing field
The new approach will apply tests that all bidders irrespective of their size will be capable of meeting, therefore helping to level the playing field for SMEs, start-ups and social enterprises.
“Government has tremendous buying power, spending £49 billion each year on contracts for vital public services. Value to the taxpayer should lie at the heart of our procurement decisions,” explained cabinet office minister Julia Lopez.
“Too often, however, ‘value’ has been narrowly defined by price without taking into account other important factors such as the number of local jobs or apprenticeships a contractor will provide, the care they show the environment in their business practices or the number of SMEs involved in their wider supply chain.
“We want to see a greater variety of companies deliver government contracts, from every corner of our country - not just because that benefits local economies and communities but because it helps diversify our risk, create a more resilient supplier base and deliver some of our critical priorities.”
‘21st century procurement’
The move was welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Arnab Dutt, chair of the FSB’s Social Value Policy Unit, said: “I welcome the announcement on social value procurement as an important step forward for public sector supply chains. Its focus on addressing economic inequality, the climate emergency and societal wellbeing is a 21st century agenda.
“Social value has the potential to be transformational in bringing opportunity to all parts of our country and to the many small businesses that are the lifeblood of our communities.”
Posted under General Interest and Public / Government / Charity on 28 October 2020