Following on from our recent blog 'The Increasing Importance of Social Value in Tenders', this latest piece seeks to explore further the theme of tackling economic inequality.
We all know that economic inequality exists in our society and with buyers now asking businesses what they are going to do to address this as part of the tender process, you need to be clear on what tangible actions are you going to take, to help address the issue.
It's important to remember that SMEs have a unique opportunity to make a difference in their communities and therefore have a great advantage over the larger companies, who can often be removed from the day-to-day challenges impacting the community. Many of you will already be doing some key actions to support this area within your businesses day-to-day running but it's key to be able to pull this information out and make it visible in your tender response.
Responding to the question within your tender submission
Typically you will find that the social value question, relating to tackling economic inequality, within your tender response will have two possible outcomes – you can be helping to create new businesses, jobs and skills and/or you will be asked about how you are increasing supply chain resilience and capacity.
Let's look at these two areas in some more detail.
Creating new businesses, jobs and skills
- Paying fair wages, providing benefits, creating training opportunities and supporting local businesses and schools are just some ways in which you can help tackle economic inequality and should be looked at across your business. We expand on this below:
- Paying employees a fair wage and providing benefits, such as health insurance, can help reduce economic inequality. This can also lead to more loyal and motivated employees who are dedicated to the success of your company.
- By embracing diversity and inclusion, you can create a welcoming environment for all employees and customers regardless of their background. This can help reduce economic inequality by creating more opportunities for all people, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic status.
- Supporting local organisations such as schools, shelters, and community centres can help address economic inequality at the grass-roots level. This can also help build relationships with members of the community and create a positive reputation for your business.
- Create opportunities for entrepreneurship and help new organisations to grow, supporting economic growth and business creation.
- Create employment and training opportunities, particularly for those who face barriers to employment and /or who are located in deprived areas, and for people in industries with known skills shortages or in high-growth sectors.
- Reducing environmental impact is not only good for the planet, but it can also have positive social and economic impacts. By reducing waste and pollution, you can help improve the health and well-being of your employees and customers while also reducing costs and increasing efficiency.
Here are some examples of what our clients have done to bring these ideas to life:
- - - A cleaning client of ours worked with a local social enterprise group to get the long-term unemployed back into the workplace.
- - - An adaptation specialist supported a local installation engineer through his university degree, accommodating time off and then providing full-time work during academic breaks.
- - - Providing work experience, apprenticeships and helping with tutoring students at the local university was an option chosen by an architect client.
- - - A security firm committed to recruiting locally.
- - - One of our printing clients committed to increase local spend by 10% per year over the life of the contract.
- - - A local resident's newsletter was used by an electrical company to help recruit locally.
- - - One of our health and social care clients worked with their local job centre to get disadvantaged groups into the workplace.
The list goes on but hopefully, this gives you an idea of some of the things you can do.
Increasing supply chain resilience and capacity
The supply chain must remain strong and not be impacted by external factors. This can cover a variety of areas including:
- the diversification of suppliers: relying on a single supplier can be risky, so diversifying suppliers, to include new businesses and entrepreneurs, SMEs and VCSEs, will make your supply chain more resilient.
- the adoption of new technologies: technologies like automation, predictive analytics, and blockchain technology can increase supply chain visibility and traceability, which again can improve resilience.
- supporting innovative and disruptive technologies throughout the supply chain: these can often help to deliver a lower cost and/or higher quality goods/services.
- supporting the development of scalable and future-proofed new methods: these can help to modernise delivery and increase productivity
- demonstrating collaboration throughout the supply chain and a fair and responsible approach to working with supply chain partners in the delivery of the contract
- demonstrating action to identify and manage cyber-security risks in the delivery of the contract including in the supply chain
- mapping the entire supply chain: this can help identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, allowing for proactive mitigation.
- being on top of inventory management: maintaining adequate inventory levels can help prevent stock-outs during disruptions.
- developing robust risk management strategies, such as contingency plans, can help mitigate disruptions.
- ensuring close collaboration and communication among supply chain partners can help quickly identify and address disruptions.
A couple of examples we have seen with our clients include:
- - - A healthcare client who actively sought SMEs to be part of their supply chain
- - - A maintenance company committed to local spend opening up their supply chain to new, local suppliers
The importance of looking at these areas cannot be underestimated. With up to 10% of marks being awarded based on what your business is doing around social value, and addressing economic inequality falling into this, you must have a robust plan in place.
If we can help at all, please get in touch