If you are bidding for public sector work, you need to consider Social Value / Community Benefits.

Procurement staff are legally bound by the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 (in England and Wales) and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 to consider the social impact of procurement on local communities.

This now forms a major role in bid evaluation, with some buyers scoring Social Value / Community Benefits as high as 10%-20% of the overall score.

So here are 3 quick tips for your next bid:

  1. Understand the definition of Social Value / Community Benefits

Buyers are looking for something different than charitable giving or traditional Corporate Social Responsibility activity. Instead, Social Value/Community Benefits refers to the impact of the contract spend itself.

Think of it as the collective benefit of the contract on the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the local community. This could be through direct job creation, Apprenticeship / work experience opportunities, increased spending with local SMEs and staff training.

In particular, focus on the impact in the local areas where the work is to be carried out. Even if you are based outside of the area, you can still demonstrate Social Value / Community Benefits through understanding local needs and focusing your activities on these.

  1. Put a structure in place

Social Value / Community Benefits should be treated like any other part of your business. Procurers want to see companies which embed the principles into their everyday activities, rather than just see them as something “that needs to be done”. Some ways to do this include:

–  Appointing a senior staff member to act as a Social Value Champion

–  Developing a Social Value / Community Benefits Statement as part of your policy library

–  Training your staff on Social Value / Community Benefits and encouraging feedback and ideas

–  Recording and monitoring your achievements and developing case studies for use in tenders

More information can be found at The Social Value Hub (http://www.socialvaluehub.org.uk/) for England and Wales and Ready For Business (http://readyforbusiness.org/community-benefit-clauses/) for Scotland.

  1. Use it as an opportunity for innovation

Social Value / Community Benefits are still developing areas. Procurers are open to innovative approaches that help improve positive outcomes for local communities. Some areas to consider are:

–  Partnerships – Can you work with community organisations to make a difference on this contract? For example, can you work with local groups to improve access to training and job opportunities for disadvantaged people?

–  Social Capital – Can you help organisations become more sustainable and increase their impact? Could you reinvest any contract savings into a seed fund for local groups? Could you provide pro-bono services or reduced prices for community organisations?

–  Supply Chain – Can you focus your spending on local SMEs? For example, could you commit to purchasing a specific percentage of goods and services from local suppliers and help them to find new customers?

To spark your creativity, have a look at some of the case studies from Social Value UK (http://www.socialvalueuk.org/resources/resources/)