Towards the end of 2020, we spoke in-depth about the procurement changes that came into effect from January 2021.
By now, you’re likely well aware that social value must be ‘explicitly stated’ in all government procurement. And that the minimum SV weighting now stands at 10% in order to level the playing field for smaller organisations. If you want a refresh, check out our previous blog outlining all the changes brought about by PPN 06/20.
But, alongside this came the government’s introduction of their ‘Annex A’ or Social Value Model. A fresh way for organisations to shape their social value assessment of tenders to align with the government’s top priorities for building back better. Over the next two weeks, we’re taking a deeper look at the Social Value Model, in particular, we’ll be honing in on the five key themes identified by the government as being material to the next few years of the UK’s development.
Today, we’re starting with COVID-19 recovery and tackling economic inequalities.
This theme is all about helping to boost the recovery of local communities and economies following the far-reaching, deep impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government guidance itself explains:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing economic and social challenges, and created many new ones. Social value provides additional benefits which can aid the recovery of local communities and economies, especially through employment, re-training and return to work opportunities, community support, developing new ways of working and supporting the health of those affected by the virus.”
The sheer number of people left unemployed or redundant is vast. In part due to the pandemic, unemployment rates have risen from 4% to 4.7% September to November 2020 saw the highest rate of redundancy since records began in 1995, with 402,000. Despite gradual improvements, there is still a lot of room left for improvement.
That’s not to mention the urgent mental health crisis that’s only been exacerbated by the uncertainty and loneliness of the lockdowns. Nor the continuing impact of long-COVID on many people’s physical health. As of June this year, 375,000 people had been suffering symptoms for over a year.
The COVID-19 pandemic also impacted certain subsections of the population disproportionately. Minority groups, the vulnerable and elderly, and those with disabilities have been most at risk.
All of these are pressing societal issues that need to be addressed as part of the nation’s ongoing COVID-19 recovery. Luckily, they’re relatively simple to address within your upcoming projects.
Examples of this theme in action across your projects
We’ve touched on them above, but some of the key benefits of prioritising your governance are:
- Create work opportunities through your projects. More specifically, produce opportunities for work, training, and skill development for those already underrepresented in the workforce and disproportionately impacted by COVID.
- Incorporate training schemes and apprenticeship opportunities into projects that address key skill gaps. Make sure these opportunities result in recognisable qualifications that will help bolster struggling sectors.
- Involve local stakeholders in the development and design of community initiatives to target problems such as poverty, homelessness, and loneliness. Be mindful of the most pressing local needs and the most underrepresented demographic groups within the community, as well as prioritising those most impacted by the pandemic.
- Actively re-think your organisation’s approach to its supply chain with the intent of becoming more fair and accessible to small and newer businesses.
- Make the mental and physical health of a project’s workforce a non-negotiable priority for its duration. Especially in light of the pandemic’s detrimental impact on people’s mental wellbeing.
Tackling economic inequalities
This theme looks to strengthen the UK’s business landscape, tackling skill and job shortages. All with the wider goal of minimising disparities between communities, creating a more equal, profitable business environment for all.
“A nationwide focus on jobs and skills, especially in high growth sectors with known skills shortages, will help to narrow disparities between communities. Providing better jobs also helps employers to attract and retain the talent they need to grow and thrive.” – The UK government’s Social Value Model
It also looks to grow and diversify wider supply chains, increasing resilience with the aim of boosting innovation and reducing risk:
“An economy with diverse, resilient and innovative supply markets is a cornerstone of prosperity. It provides the best environment to start and grow a business. Markets with a broad range of suppliers of different types can offer better value for money, promote innovative solutions and give public services access to expertise and knowledge on complex issues.”
This theme has a lot of overlap with the economic/business aspect of COVID-19 recovery. The UK, as it stands, does not offer equal opportunity for jobs, skill development, or financial stability. Certain communities are left at a disadvantage when it comes to securing contracts, starting a new business, or progressing in their careers. We also have a significant lack of diversity in wider supply chains, with SMEs and VCSEs often left unable to compete for competitive contracts.
But by strengthening the business landscape, we can begin to level the playing field and create more equality across the board. Especially in deprived areas and high-growth industries struggling with skill gaps.
Examples of this theme in action across your projects
- Make an ongoing effort to diversify your supply chain, most notably including SMEs, VCSEs, and new businesses. This might involve engaging with potential suppliers earlier in the process, making opportunities known in broader circles and communities, and maximising fairness in your selection process.
- Actively address skills shortages that are relevant to the contract at hand, providing training schemes and learning opportunities for relevant qualifications.
- Provide career advice to the project workforce. For example, offering CV guidance, mock interviews, or mentoring with the aim of progressing workers into high-growth industries or those struggling with skills gaps.
- Make education and development opportunities available to those groups presently underrepresented in the present workforce. For example, prison-leavers or disabled people.
- Encourage innovation and disruptive technologies throughout projects to reduce costs and maximise quality of results. Similarly, look for and actively engage with modern developments – such as modern methods of construction – to boost project productivity and results.
And there we are! 2 of the 5 core themes that make up the government’s new and improved social value model. Be sure to come back next week where we’ll be covering the rest, including fighting climate change, equal opportunity, and wellbeing.
At Impact, we make procurement teams’ lives easier. Our streamlined, real-time approach to bid evaluation puts your chosen themes and outcomes front and centre, as well as a seamless transition to track social value throughout a project’s complete life cycle and ensure all value promised is achieved by completion. If you want to find out more, get in touch on 0161 532 4752 or book a demo.