When it comes to bidding for contracts with the public sector, there is now substantial emphasis on social value/community benefits.

Bidders need to demonstrate that they are good corporate citizens in the local areas they operate in.

For some businesses, the terms social value/community benefits can be mystifying. However, when simply asked – what does your business do for the local community? – often plenty of positive engagement can be mentioned.

Bidders can be missing out on crucial tender score points and in turn lucrative contracts as they’re not including or giving themselves credit for the community work they do in the written social value/community benefits section!

Bringing social value/community benefits to life in your bid…

1. Creation of job opportunities for young people
• Offer apprenticeships and placements in partnership with the Job Centre and the Education and Skills Funding Agency programmes
• Partner with graduate experience focussed organisations
• Encourage and nurture self-employment and freelancing by inviting young people to apply to carry out work on specific projects you may have e.g. all communications for a one-off upcoming event

2. Community Engagement Initiatives such as volunteering, sponsorship and equipment donations
Top Tip: Give thought to which community organisations could benefit from your practical and financial assistance… you could:
• Carry out a big fundraiser at least once a year e.g. a car wash, charity fun night, dress down day
• Donate your vehicles for the day for the local gala/fete or similar community wide event
• Donate sports clothing or kit washing services to your local community football team

3. Creation and delivery of educational initiatives and outcomes
• Organise visit days with local schools e.g. organise a local primary school to attend your head office and have a member of your team show them round
• Offer work experience placements in conjunction with local schools and colleges
• Guest lecture at local colleges and universities, lending your industry voice to give young people an insight in the work and what skills are required in your sector
• Create an online platform for young people to learn more about your industry. Whether this is a weekly blog or a training programme, it’s about looking at what your organisation can deliver

10 Top Tips on presenting social value in your bids
1. Cannot just be a rehash of what you are doing anyway although you can mention what will be sustained
2. Think about how you can contribute to the buying organisation’s strategic priorities and preferred community groups
3. The buyer is looking very specifically for what will be new delivery due to being awarded this contract
4. Look for any additional budget you can bring in here e.g. from your corporate social responsibility/charitable giving budget
5. Whilst it is not all about jobs and apprenticeships, these will likely form the centrepiece of any offering
6. Think about potential community use of premises and equipment
7. Enter some dialogue with local community groups prior to submitting the bid to find out what they need
8. Provide a brief description of each community benefit and how it will be delivered
9. Detail the estimated GBP value of each community benefits that you will provide
10. Give a brief explanation of how you will monitor delivery of each community benefit and report this to the buyer

Two final social value/community benefits considerations:
1) Genuine engagement: When it comes to social value/community benefits, make sure your organisation’s effort is genuine and not seeming to buyers as just a PR stunt – you can do this by aligning with a cause close to your organisation’s heart and expertise. For example – if you are a construction company, it can make sense to partner with a charity focusing on developing young people’s interest in construction.

2) Giving yourself credit: Make sure you give yourself the credit for the work you do. Make sure your support is written compellingly on your website and regularly posted about on social media.