Due to the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 you may be seeing more questions about Social Value in your tenders. You need to pay close attention to your answers as they do often account for 10% of the quality criteria. Public Sector buyers are being encouraged to ensure they factor Social Value into their supply chains and procurement process.

Read on to find out more about Social Value, what it means and areas your organisation needs to become more involved with so that you can prove your Social Value credentials.


Social Value Definitions:

  1. Cabinet Office: “Social Value refers to wider financial and non-financial impacts of projects and programmes including the wellbeing of individuals, communities, social capital and the environment”
  2. Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012: “An Act to require public authorities to have regard to economic, social and environmental wellbeing in connection with public services contracts and for connected purposes”
  3. Social Enterprise UK: “the additional benefit to the community from a commissioning/procurement process over and above the direct purchasing of goods, services and outcomes”.


Social ValueThemes Outcomes and Measures (TOMs) and the portal:

There is a website: Social Value Portal, which is one way that the buyers can administer their Social Value procurement process. If they don’t use this Portal, they may compose their own questions and scoring.

The Social Value Portal assigns monetary value to the social value response. A useful video about how the portal works can be viewed here:

The purpose of the Social Value Portal is to:

  1. Measure Social Value offers
  2. Contract management of Social Value
  3. How the Portal works:
  • When setting their Social Value criteria, buyers will assign the individual Social Value offers and measures that they are seeking for their contract
  • Under each theme, the Portal assigns a unique reference number and question to each individual measure (there are numerous measures under each theme)
  • The unit of measure is then detailed
  • Followed by the value or multiplier

The example below, from the Social Value Portal, is related to the theme of jobs and promoting local skills:


Social Value themes include:

  • Jobs – Promote local skills and employment
  • Growth – Supporting Growth of Responsible Regional Business
  • Social – Healthier, Safer and more Resilient Communities
  • Environment – Decarbonising and Safeguarding our World
  • Innovation – Promoting Social Innovation


How you can match your Social Value offers to the buyers’ requirements:

  •  Ensure your Social Value offers are proportionate and relevant to the specific contract you are tendering for
  • Understand that buyers are seeking Social Value offers that are directly relevant to their contract, not existing examples of good practice
  • Commit to Social Value offers that can be performance managed, as you would expect service levels or other contract requirements to be managed
  • Provide good descriptions and relevant evidence of how you will deliver your Social Value commitments

If you are tendering for a local contract, think about the offers you can make that relate to:

  • Workforce e.g. new employees
  • Training and apprenticeships
  • Local supply chain – demonstrating the value of what you will buy locally, improving the local economy
  • Community involvement – can you train or support community groups?
  • Local charities – can you offer support to local charities?
  • Suggestions for improving the local environment

All Social Value must be measurable – either in numbers of people, or numbers of hours – which will attribute a value.


We know this is a relatively new complex area of tendering to understand, so we recommend reading up some more via these online sources:

Selling to Government – SME guide: guide-to-working-with-government

Social Value Portal:

Social Value Portal – Youtube: MUIranw

Social Enterprise UK:

Social Value UK:

Of course, if you want further advice, we are always available for a no obligation chat about how you can get yourself tender ready with clear areas of Social Value that your organisation can offer. Get in touch.

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