Social Value in G-Cloud 13: What to Do
In line with Central Government priorities, G-Cloud 13, the latest iteration of the G-Cloud framework, has introduced a new requirement for prospective suppliers to deliver social value on any contracts awarded through the framework.
Committed to using taxpayer money to deliver community benefits, prospective suppliers are now required to write 300 words on social value per listing, outlining contract-specific offers and evidencing an ability to uphold these promises.
What is social value in tendering?
Social value in tendering refers to the concept of delivering broader benefits to society and the community as part of a procurement or contracting process. This is often referred to as being the ‘Most Economically Advantageous Tender’, also known as the ‘MEAT’.
When a public authority issues a tender, they can consider social value alongside the more traditional factors like cost and quality. The aim is to ensure that the procurement process contributes positively to the well-being of the community and the environment in addition to fulfilling the contract's primary objectives.
To incorporate social value into the tendering process, purchasing authorities may use specific criteria, scoring systems, or weighting mechanisms to assess the social and environmental benefits of bids.
A key framework for measuring social value is the National Themes Outcomes and Measures (TOMS) which evolved from the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. These criteria help decision-makers make more balanced and responsible choices, taking into account not only the immediate costs and benefits but also the long-term impact on society and the environment, for example through decarbonisation.
Is social value important in G-Cloud 13?
Expected to weigh in at around 10% of the overall scoring criteria, crafting your social value bid responses for G-Cloud 13 is becoming increasingly important as buyers search for the MEAT, following in the footsteps of the hugely successful, environmentally-conscious Pagabo framework.
In an increasingly technologically-minded world, social value commitments attempt to restore a balance against the cloud-based computer services that the G-Cloud framework procures.
By offering resources to benefit the taxpayers it serves, G-Cloud 13 can use its increasing influence to support the Government's commitment to supporting local communities in ways that go beyond the delivery of a contracted service. For example, suppliers can commit to job creation, voluntary hours and donations to local causes which bring the community together and support the local economy in a more permanent way.
What does social value offer to suppliers?
By making prospective suppliers consider their social value, the Government encourages providers to adopt more sustainable practices, reduce their carbon footprint, and support initiatives that promote environmental responsibility.
As cloud-based computer solutions can consume significant energy and resources, this new G-Cloud 13 requirement serves to ensure that suppliers work in environmental and ethical ways, recognising their environmental impact and working to mitigate these effects.
Committed to delivering wider benefits, contracts that emphasise social value may incentivise cloud providers to invest in education and skills development programs. This can benefit communities by enhancing digital literacy and providing training opportunities in technology-related fields.
Further to this, by encouraging these skills development programmes to local young people, contracts can promote diversity and inclusion in the technology sector. This includes encouraging the hiring of underrepresented groups, supporting diversity in supplier networks, and fostering equal opportunities in the industry.
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How to prioritise social value in G-Cloud 13
Where tenders require a social value response, you will commonly find the buyer’s requirements for social value set out in their specification as part of the Invitation to Tender (ITT). From the specification, you should be able to identify the buyer’s key areas of importance, for example job creation or equality and diversity initiatives.
To help further guide your commitment prioritisation, you can research the buyer’s Social Value Policy to identify any existing commitments/initiatives to ensure that your proposal is directly aligned to their needs and core company values.
When finalising your commitments, you should be cautious to ensure that your social value offering is not unrealistic or unreasonably expensive. Whilst the specifics will vary between opportunities, it is not uncommon for the successful supplier to be expected to deliver on 100% of their commitments. Therefore, you shouldn’t promise anything you can’t realistically deliver.
To help guide you, each opportunity will contain a scoring matrix against which the response will be scored. Use this to guide your response and ensure that you are meeting the buyer’s expectations.
Social value bid writing for G-Cloud 13
As public sector organisations increasingly recognise their responsibility to contribute positively towards communities and the environment, integrating social value considerations into the bid writing process is becoming an essential procurement tool. In these bids, suppliers are encouraged to not only showcase their technical expertise and cost-effectiveness but also their commitment to fostering social good.
To help guide your G-Cloud 13 social value bid writing, we have provided examples of specific commitments you could make to enhance your quality score and align yourself with the needs of the buying authority (please note that you should always refer first to the opportunity specification, the below are guidance only).
Example 1. Clearly articulate your social value objectives: Your bid should articulate the specific social value objectives you intend to achieve through the contract. This could include goals related to sustainability, diversity and inclusion, local economic development, or other social and environmental factors, for example:
“Contributing to a more sustainable environment, we commit to reducing carbon emissions associated with our cloud data centres by 20% within the first year of the contract.”
Example 2. Measurable outcomes: Your bid should outline how the supplier plans to measure and report on the social value outcomes of the contract. Measurable indicators allow for transparency and accountability in achieving social goals, such as:
“Showcasing our progress in reducing environmental impact and contributing to greater transparency, we will provide quarterly reports on energy consumption.”
Example 3. Diversity and inclusion: Suppliers should detail their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within their organisations and throughout the supply chain. This may involve hiring practices, supplier diversity initiatives, and outreach to underrepresented groups:
“Our workforce includes 30% employees from underrepresented groups, and we actively support supplier diversity by partnering with women-owned businesses for hardware procurement.”
Example 4. Environmental responsibility: You should highlight your environmentally responsible practices, such as reducing carbon emissions, minimising waste, and adopting green technologies through evidence such as:
“Demonstrating our commitment to minimising waste and pollution, we have achieved ISO 14001 certification for our environmental management system.”
Example 5. Local engagement: Suppliers should express their dedication to long-term sustainability, demonstrating that social value considerations are not mere checkboxes but integral to their business ethos. Ways in which you can do this include:
“ Empowering the next generation of technology professionals in the communities we serve, we engage with local schools to provide STEM education programs.”
Example 6. Innovation: Showcase your innovative solutions that align with social value goals. This might include technologies or approaches that contribute positively to societal well-being or environmental sustainability.
“Reducing energy consumption for clients and contributing to a greener future, our cloud services include AI-powered energy optimisation.”
For more guidance, and to see how Thornton and Lowe can increase your social value score, get in touch and let us help you win G-Cloud 13 contacts today!