10th Feb 2020

A definition of social value is a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis, in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment.

Achieving social value begins with the supply chain and procurement. The upcoming Janitorial and Cleaning Supplies framework has social, economic and environmental aspects as well as sustainability and ethical supply built in as part of the specification. The tender included a specific scored question on this subject to drive change and improvement in the supply chain.

Social value is becoming increasingly important for organisations in the education sector, where the wellbeing of future generations is of great concern. Responding to and helping support young people with social and environmental concerns of today on both a global and local scale is more important now than ever before.

Procurement can use the supply chain to unlock real desired outcomes to help deliver social value for schools, colleges, academies, trusts and universities. Value for money is still as important as ever, however procurers today have a more holistic view of the term ‘value’ such as value for society, the environment and the local economy. This could support educating the next generation on reducing their impact on the environment and addressing social inequalities.

How effective procurement can help educational establishments with social value when calling off from this framework:

  1. Make social value relevant. Figure out what it is that is really important to you and what issues you would like to challenge
  2. Engage with your supply chain during the call off to understand how they help to address some of these issues and what social value means to them. Everyone is on their own social value journey. Try and take your suppliers on your journey with you, work together to address the challenges you face
  3. Ask bidders to provide SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed) objectives to meet your social value requirements as well as possible outputs such as volunteering, training and sponsoring local events/actions etc
  4. Make social value part of the KPIs of your contract and monitor them alongside other contract management deliverables

When you’re looking to call off from this framework consider what social value can be included:

  • Simple things such as seeking to use local supplier chains adds to the local economy and can reduce the carbon footprint, therefore reducing the impact on the environment
  • Employability skills are hugely important to prepare children and young people for the next stage in their lives. Including terms where your suppliers help support employability initiatives could be a great benefit

Achieving social value is just as important as saving money and just like cost savings, social value begins with the supply chain and procurement. Social, economic and environmental considerations provide you with the opportunity to help strengthen your local community.