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The new evaluation model for social value

Social value has gained more and more prominence in public procurement in recent years and moves are now underway to further prioritise and standardise these requirements.

Following the government’s decision to obligate central government organisations to take account of social value in purchasing as of this summer, the Cabinet Office is holding a consultation on proposals for a new evaluation model that finishes on the 10th June.

It is open to buyers, suppliers, and any other stakeholders in public sector procurement.

What is changing?
The proposed model would require central government departments to take account of social impact as part of their award criteria in above-threshold contracts, with a minimum weighting of 10%.

A variety of themes and policy outcomes are outlined in the new model but purchasing organisations will retain freedom over how and when to apply them based on the subject matter of any given procurement and their own commissioning priorities.

There will be a standard set of questions and evaluation criteria for each of the policy areas outlined in the new model, along with a scoring methodology similar to that already used to gauge quality in tender submissions.

Why the consultation?
Sub-central and third sector bodies and their suppliers have been the main drivers of innovation in terms of social value up to this point, so input from experienced stakeholders will help to determine if the proposed model is workable.

Improving SME access to public contracts is also a major policy area and some of the key feedback requested in the consultation is focused on whether or not the new model helps or hinders the government’s objective of “levelling the playing field” for suppliers.

The questions posed in the consultation are:
  • Do you agree with the proposed policy metrics in the model in the attached annex? Do you have examples of such metrics being successfully used in public procurement?
  • Do you agree that the proposed minimum 10% weighting for evaluating social value in the bid is appropriate?
  • Does the proposed approach risk creating any barriers to particular sizes or types of bidders, including SMEs or VCSEs? How might these risks be mitigated?
  • How can we ensure government’s existing procurement policy mandates (for example on levelling the playing field for SMEs) take precedence in designing the procurement?
Want to know more?
If you’re a buyer in need of advice on how to include and evaluate social value in your procurement exercises or a supplier looking for guidance on how best to include these actions in your bids then we’re ready to help. Visit our consultancy page or call 0800 222 9009.

You can also view full details of the new evaluation model and take part in the consultation here.