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Social Value in Tenders

The Increasing Importance of Social Value in Tenders

Wednesday 12 April, 2023

Back in 2012, the government introduced the Social Value Act 2012 which requires all public bodies to consider how, as part of their purchasing, they may improve economic, social and environmental wellbeing. It challenges them to go beyond just the cost and quality of goods and services being purchased and look at wider societal benefits and has continued to grow in importance.

It is there to promote sustainable development, support the local economy, provide opportunities for small and mid-sized enterprises, and contribute to social inclusion, diversity, and equal opportunity. It also seeks to address key challenges that the public sector faces such as poverty, unemployment, and health inequalities. By embedding social value in procurement processes, the public sector can ensure that public money is used effectively and responsibly to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes.

We are now seeing the weighting of the social value component of a tender increase to up to 10% of the available marks - enough to swing a tender from a loss to a win so it’s absolutely crucial that your business respond coherently and convincingly to the questions set.

To support this there are a couple of frameworks that are being used to help guide businesses focus their efforts and achieve meaningful results, the main two being The Social Value Model and TOMS (Themes, Outcomes and Measures). The Social Value Model is used by central government and the NHS so we will be focusing on this and over the coming weeks you’ll see more specific information about the key themes come out.

The Social Value Model actually has 5 themes which they have mapped to eight policy outcomes, these are:

- Theme 1: COVID-19 recovery

               - Policy outcome: Help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of COVID-19.

- Theme 2: Tackling economic inequality

               - Policy outcome: Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills

               - Policy outcome: Increase supply chain resilience and capacity

- Theme 3: Fighting climate change

               - Policy outcome: Effective stewardship of the environment

- Theme 4: Equal opportunity

               - Policy outcome: Reduce the disability employment gap

               - Policy outcome: Tackle workforce inequality

- Theme 5: Wellbeing

               - Policy outcome: Improve health and wellbeing

               - Policy outcome: Improve community cohesion

There is no requirement for you to take action against ALL of these but it’s not unusual for a tender to ask you about a commitment in each area. You will typically be asked what you are going to do against a specific theme and then asked to show evidence of what you have done in the past.

We are now seeing less and less emphasis on Theme 1 however the remaining four themes are growing in importance and over the next few months we’ll be sharing more information on each theme.

If you are currently looking to respond to tenders and would like some help with writing your responses, including those all important social value questions, get in touch. You can email us at, call 01707 244713 or alternatively take a look at our tender writing page more information.

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