3 ways to prove your social value in construction and win more contracts

Since January 2021’s changes to social value in procurement, it’s been a thorn in the side of many construction suppliers.

Demonstrating that a minimum of 10% of your contract value will bring social returns is sometimes all that’s standing between winning a competitive multi-million pound contract or not. And it’s easy to see why this gets frustrating.

You know your organisation are the best people for the job. You’ve got the skills, experience, and passion to help people and communities along the way. But you’re still struggling to land this message and show procurement teams exactly what they want to see. It can feel like all your good intentions are getting lost in translation.

But don’t worry! We have three tips to help you shape your approach to social value in your tenders. And advice for bringing that to the forefront for procurement teams to see.

Embrace MMC…

Both social value and modern methods of construction (MMC) have become industry buzzwords in recent years. But it’s with good reason – this is the direction the sector is going. 

As well as the updates to the Social Value Act, in 2021, the UK government set aside £10 million in seed funding to speed up the adoption of MMC. And to stay competitive in the modern landscape, suppliers have to follow their cue – the ‘golden thread’ that links everything back to the direction they want to head in.

Embracing MMC naturally increases the social value you generate on each project. It moves a lot of the prep and manufacturing work to off-site locations. And in doing so, reduces any disruption caused to local communities.

It also has a positive impact on the environment. Less on-site work means fewer vehicles going back and forth and fewer emissions. And purpose-built sites are often more efficient and less wasteful, anyway. By positioning off-site facilities in areas that require economic stimulation, MMC also creates jobs for those who need them most. And as these aren’t linked to a specific project, the social value generated for individuals and communities will long outlive the projects themselves. 

So if you’ve not embraced MMC, now is the time to do so. Show that your focus is on generating value for others and minimising your carbon footprint. And make sure the procurement team knows this is what you’re all about. Let them know what you’re doing and where, and emphasise why this is the case. This shows them you understand the impact of your actions.

…While also thinking local

As you embrace off-site construction methods more, it’s important to not lose touch of the areas around your projects. MMC can increase how much value you generate overall. But procurement teams will still want to see your commitment to helping local communities. It’s about striking a balance.

96% of people in the sector look to social value to improve relationships with the communities they work in. But you can’t achieve this without taking the time to learn exactly what a local area needs.

What local charities or support groups can you speak to? Having these conversations will help you craft tangible, strategic bids that address local issues. And the more you show procurement teams not only what you’re proposing, but also why you’re proposing it and how you’ll deliver it, the more you’ll stand out.

It allows you to show that you understand how the area differs from others, and that each has its own unique needs. An apprenticeship scheme in central Manchester is going to look different to one in a small Cornish town. Finding a way to account for this in your bids will be invaluable. 

For example, by using local multipliers. These can help you visualise localised monetary and wellbeing benefits according to where an activity will take place. If you can show how this data will allow you to give back to the community, you’re making a strong impression in your bids. 

And it might go without saying, but get to know the contracting provider or local authority you’re bidding to. What matters to them? Look for their social value statement and make sure you’re on the same page.

Link your promises to past projects

A challenge since PPN06/20 has been suppliers over-promising and under-delivering. You end up with some using multipliers and proxy values that over-inflate forecasted figures, creating a “race to the top” approach, with the biggest number winning. Even if they don’t have the desire or ability to follow their commitments through.

But by showing the social value you’ve created on past or current projects, you instantly prove that you can and will stand by your commitments.

What better way to prove you’re up for the job than by showing exactly what tangible outcomes you achieved on a past project? As well as how those outcomes linked back to the core deliverables you set during tender. It proves that not only can you deliver, but that you’re actually paying attention to what you’re doing.

You have the evidence, and that’s not something you luck into. You’ve got it because you wanted to get it. Even better, link that evidence back to your method statements. Plus, tenders almost always have space to detail your previous successes, so make the most of it.

That’ll speak volumes to procurement teams.

Wrapping it all up

Even if you’re still at the beginning of your social value journey, you’ll have so much more experience under your belt than you realise. Even something like how you treat your own staff can be a strong talking point. And the more you invest in tools to start capturing and evidencing all this existing social value, the stronger position you’ll be in at tender.

PPN 06/20 has the potential to make or break your success with contracts. Which is exactly why strengthening your approach to social value is so critical to becoming a supplier of choice. It’s about embracing everything it has to offer, showing your commitment at a local level, and proving you can walk the walk.

With Impact, measuring, monitoring, and reporting your social value doesn’t have to be a hassle. Effortlessly align your activities with tangible real-world outcomes, effectively demonstrate your social value to buyers, and win more competitive contracts. To find out more, schedule a demo or get in touch on 0161 532 4752.