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As it turns out, quite a lot.

It used to be the case that helping clients develop a strong offering in terms of social value was a good way to score a few additional points, which in a competitive tender could make the difference between winning and losing. Now though, as commissioners are increasingly adding greater weightings to social value in the scoring criteria it’s becoming much more of an essential.

A delegate recently expressed frustration during the social value session on one of Underwood Consulting’s full day tender bid writing training courses, citing the significant burden social value requirements place upon smaller providers. This was echoed by other health and social care providers, many of whom noted that the contracts they are bidding for are on the edge of being financially viable to begin with.

The Need for Less Prescriptive Social Value Targets

This is indeed a fair point, yet it’s also clear that the need to develop the health and social care workforce, support the local community and protect the environment are undoubtedly imperative too, thus making the case for sustainable procurement understandable. What is particularly frustrating however, is when tenders are overly prescriptive about social value targets and their methods of delivery. After fifteen years of working in the charity sector, I know that many charities are intrinsically involved in their local communities and have excellent knowledge of what will and won’t work. This means they are naturally well placed to deliver social value in a realistic and efficient way, whilst also achieving community benefits that are often overlooked by, or even worse, eliminated as a result of prescriptive targets.

Developing Your Social Value Offer

This debate aside however, social value is clearly here to stay for the foreseeable future and in Underwood Consulting’s experience is an area in which charities along with health and social care providers can excel. Indeed, when getting to know clients in bid kick-off workshops, it frequently turns out that they are already offering significant social value as a matter of course, yet they often don’t capture it effectively. Therefore, clear, detailed targets around social value and the rationale to support them are something providers need to give increasing consideration to before an important tender is published. Underwood Consulting’s four day tender readiness service can help with this, so if your organisation has a crucial tender pending please do get in touch to see how we could help.