At Content Coms, we take a look at Social Value and 5 things you need to know if you’re selling into the public sector...

Social Value: 5 things you need to know if you’re selling into the public sector


  1. The Public Services (Social Value) Act of 2012 requires public bodies to consider Social Value and how to increase it within their areas of responsibility. Some have engaged with it more than others since that date!
  2. In 2020 the UK Government renewed its commitment to Social Value and declared an intent to drive better social value through its procurement processes. We don’t believe there is a blueprint for this, but different authorities will have (or will be now) defining what this means to them. Social Value UK has a guide which sets out the seven (soon to be eight) principles of this, as developed by Social Value International.
  3. In late 2020 the BSI launched BS8950:2020 Social Value Standard. This British Standard gives guidance and principles for the understanding, preservation and enhancement of social value.
  4. Increasingly, public authorities are asking for evidence from potential supply chain partners about their commitment to Social Value; this can appear in different ways on a tender document, but common themes will be:
    • Method Statement – setting out understanding, key principles, activities, stakeholder engagement, approach to measurement, and impact.
    • Examples of activities already undertaken or planned – these might feature under headings such as:
      • Fair and Inclusive – looking for impacts on education and employability, with a particular focus on under-represented groups.
      • Wellbeing – how an organisation looks after its people
      • Empowerment and Caring – how an organisation impacts on the communities where it is based and where it works.
      • Environment – how an organisation impacts on the world around it
  5. Even if you’re not bidding for work directly from public authorities, there is an increasing likelihood that this subject will feature within the applications you make to join supply chains. Social Value isn’t going to go away so best to give some thought and take steps towards being an organisation which understands Social Value, engages with its stakeholders, sets out its plan, takes action and measures its impact.

Content Coms specialises in communications and content for a carbon conscious world. We’re working hard – right now – to learn about the ways in which we can support clients in articulating their Social Value impacts with help from Social Value UK. As sustainability specialists (and we’re lucky enough to have team expertise in public sector procurement), we will be really well-placed to help clients on this journey. Over the next 6 months, we will be developing a tool kit to support clients in demonstrating Social Value in a way that is both proportionate and meaningful, and which will position you well in any procurement process.

If you’re interested in how we can help your business prepare for more scrutiny on Social Value, drop us a line. We’re happy to talk.


Content Coms About the author

Content Coms takes a creative approach to B2B communications. We combine our sector knowledge with independent thinking to deliver content-led campaigns that work hand in hand with your commercial objectives.

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