Social Value

  1. What is Social Value?
  2. Social Value case studies
  3. Where does Social Value come from?
  4. Why deliver Social Value?
  5. Greater Manchester Combined Authority Social Value Policy
  6. How does STAR deliver Social Value?
  7. How can suppliers deliver Social Value?
  8. How to demonstrate your Social Value offer within your bid
  9. What are we doing to support Social Value being delivered?
  10. STAR Councils’ priorities & guidance
  11. Top tips for Social Value in the bidding / procurement process
  12. Social Value FAQs

What is Social Value?

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Many people will have heard of the term 'Social Value' over the past few years, especially when dealing with the public sector, but what exactly is it? Simply put, Social Value is considered as the wider benefit gained by the local community, businesses and the environment through the better spending of public money.

If you are bidding for public sector contracts, consider what you can offer in addition to what is required within the contract itself, such as:




Volunteering in the community

Hosting work placements

Reducing energy use and carbon emissions

Hosting community events at your business

Employing local people and spending with local suppliers

Supporting improvements to public spaces and parks

Flexible working policies for staff

Mentoring and providing career advice to young people

Using sustainable products and materials

We call these wider benefits, “Procurement Worth”. We captur this Procurement Worth as part of our 5-STAR measures and report them to each STAR Council. Take a look at some of the below case studies, which demonstrate how suppliers have helped make this happen through the bidding process.

Social Value case studies

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Bikeability Cycle Training

Brooklands Primary School

AGMA Agency Staff

Debt Welfare Benefits Housing Advice

School Swimming Transport Service

Managed IT Security Service

Community Based Lifestyle Services


Cash Collection - Pay & Display Machines

Where does Social Value come from?

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All sectors of business have been delivering what we understand as Social Value – corporate social responsibility - for many years. In recent times, there is now a greater responsibility for the public sector to consider Social Value following the introduction of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 on 31st January 2013.

Social Value fact!

As a minimum, public sector bodies have to consider the wider benefits of ‘Social Value’ during the purchase of services where the contract value exceeds £181,302

It is now a legal obligation for the public sector to consider the Social Value that could come from the procurement of services before they embark upon it. The aim of the Act is not to change the procurement process, but to ensure that the public sector give consideration to the wider impact (social, economic and environmental) of the services being delivered. This means greater emphasis is required on preparation and consultation prior to the bidding process, both with commissioners and the supply market itself, to understand what Social Value could be delivered together.

Social Value fact!

STAR Procurement not only applies the Social Value Act to Services contracts above and below the threshold of £181,302 but also through contracts for Supplies and Works as part of our vision for achieving greater Procurement Worth

Why deliver Social Value?

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As financial pressures continue to rise in the public sector and demand for services continues to grow, it is now more important than ever that we think differently when we spend money on public services. Therefore we need to continually ask:

  1. What is important to the local community when delivering services?
  2. How can we deliver services differently that will impact positively on the local community and the environment?
  3. How can we support local businesses through public contracts?
  4. How can we work better together to engage those people who are hard to reach?
  5. What are the current local challenges faced that could be better resolved by working together with our communities?

Greater Manchester Combined Authority Social Value Policy

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The STAR Councils are signatories to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) Social Value Policy, which sets out how public sector authorities within Greater Manchester can increase the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of their local communities through procurement. The objectives of this policy are as follows:

Suppliers from various sectors can support the achievement of these objectives both through the delivery of contracts and also through partnership working. Start to consider what your organisation does at present that fits within the objectives above.

Why not undertake a basic assessment of your organisations Social Value capabilities? The Social Value Portal has a Maturity Index which you can use to evaluate your own organisation.

Social Value fact!

Social Value should not be restricted to an organisation’s   bidding / procurement processes, but should encouraged as part of an   organisation’s culture and collaborative working ethos

How does STAR deliver Social Value?

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STAR works closely with commissioners and service users across the STAR Councils, to understand and assess what opportunities exist to deliver social value through their contracts.  We do this at the earliest possible opportunity -from when a commissioner identifies the need for a contract, or as part of contract management – which means it is never too late to introduce social value initiatives, as a means of increasing Procurement Worth.

An appropriate method of market engagement will be used to consult with potential bidders, or sectors that have an interest in supporting social value outcomes. This is to ensure that what we are asking to be delivered is relevant and proportionate to the contract being tendered and more importantly, any captured Social Value can be delivered. The intention is to provide the opportunity to engage and feedback prior to the bidding process, but not to restrict innovation from the market.

STAR Councils where possible now attribute a minimum of 15% evaluation weighting for Social Value as part of the bidding process. This means that it is increasingly important that STAR Procurement not only clearly identifies what the STAR Councils’ priorities are, but provides support and guidance on how suppliers can deliver them.

Social Value fact!

Your response to Social Value within a bid could make the difference to winning a contract, so make it count by following the supporting guidance

Any proposed Social Value offer is then written into the contract as a key performance indicator. It is then the responsibility of the contract manager, with support from STAR Procurement and other colleagues, to ensure these outcomes are delivered.

How can suppliers deliver Social Value?

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As previously mentioned, Social Value should not just be restricted to procurement and STAR Procurement encourages organisations to consider this as part of their culture - to think differently about the wider benefits to the local community. However, for the purpose of procurement, here are some examples of how suppliers can deliver social value through bidding for public sector contracts:

How to demonstrate your Social Value offer within your bid

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The challenge most suppliers face, irrespective of what sector they operate in, is how to explain or demonstrate what Social Value they can deliver as part of the bidding process for a public sector contract. Below are some pointers which should assist you to ensure that your organisation demonstrates the Social Value it can offer, which will hopefully help you to achieve the maximum scores possible in the tender you are submitting:

Become familiar with the GMCA Social Value Policy discussed above and understand what your organisation currently delivers under each objective, that might be appropriate for the contract you are bidding for;

Understand the Council’s priorities set out below, and seek help and guidance from the Council around what they are looking to achieve as outcomes;

Engage with your supply chain or other organisations within both the private and VCSE sector to collaborate on opportunities;

Learn from previous case studies of what has been delivered within similar sectors or business and how you could develop them further as noted above;

Tell the story of:

Social Value Story
 What social value you will deliver How you will manage the delivery of social value 
 How you will deliver social value  How you will engage with the Council in delivery of social value
 Who will deliver the social value  How you will report on social value outcomes delivered

Be innovative.  STAR Procurement will provide advice and guidance on what we see as our priorities and potential opportunities to deliver social value, but this shouldn’t be considered to be an exhaustive list;

Be realistic about what you can deliver as this will become a contractual commitment if you are successful.

What are we doing to support Social Value being delivered?

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STAR Procurement appreciates the difficulties a vast number of businesses and organisations still face when engaging with the public sector and bidding for business. In order to support you, we are:

  1. Simplifying our approach based on risk;
  2. Engaging with organisations proactively through market consultation to encourage input;
  3. Providing internal and external support networks;
  4. Simplifying measures and reporting;
  5. Providing case studies;
  6. Providing guidance documents.

STAR Councils’ priorities & guidance

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Each STAR Council has reviewed the GMCA Social Value Policy and its own Corporate Priorities and developed specific Social Value guidance for Council Officers and Suppliers. Follow the links to find the guidance for RochdaleStockport and Trafford Councils.  Guidance specifically tailored for forTameside Council will shortly be published here.

In addition, we have created a brief overview to give you some ideas on the offer you can incorporate into your tenders. Remember, these are suggestions to inspire you, not an exhaustive list!

Top tips for Social Value in the bidding / procurement process

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Top Tips for Social Value

Read the Social Value Policy for the specific Council and understand what its Corporate Priorities are. If you are unsure of any of the terminology used, then ask;

Get involved in policy work and any strategic discussions and market engagement with the Council, so you can help influence the shape of its Social Value policies in the first instance;

Follow this guidance on our website to understand Social Value and how your organisation can become match-fit to compete.

During the tender

Answer the question asked, not the question you think should have been asked;

Social Value is what you will do in addition to the contract. Set out what you aregoing to deliver above and beyond what is required in the specification;

Talk to your supply chain, they may be able to help you deliver social value;

Make your response specific to the tender – generic social value statements and stock answers will not be well received. Be specific and definitive about what it is that you will do for this specific contract;

Be innovative. It still should be appropriate and relevant to the tender but don’t be afraid to come up with something unique;

Consider options that will help you as a business as well as the Council, such as health and wellbeing support for staff;

If you don’t think social value has been considered, then ask them about it during the tender period;

There should be no additional cost to the contract for you to deliver social value.


If successful, you will be contractually obliged to deliver on your Social Value submission, so ensure that it is realistic and deliverable;

Agree with the Council how and when you will report on your progress in delivering your Social Value commitments during the contract;

If unsuccessful, ask for feedback and specifically ask about Social Value, so you can improve your bidding skills for the next opportunity.

Social Value FAQs

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Social Value FAQs
 Frequently Asked QuestionResponse 
What is the social value weighting in tenders? Where possible, we use a minimum of 15% as a guide; but it is proportionate to the contract being tendered 
Why don't I always see social value in the quotations I am submitting? Not all tender opportunities that STAR Councils advertise are suitable for the capture of additional Social Value. If Social Value is not included in a tender document, you can always ask during the tender period to check that it has been considered and discounted
Will current suppliers have an advantage in the evaluation process? No. STAR Procurement makes sure that all suppliers are treated equally, by providing all bidders with the same detailed information to support their submissions
If I am a supplier who is not based within the Council’s area, does this mean that
I won't win any work?
No it doesn't, but you can enhance your bid by offering and providing Social Value within the Council’s locality
Is it all about price? No. Evaluation criteria is based upon proportionality and relevance to what we are buying in terms of Price, Quality and Social Value
Can you offer market engagement to assist bidders with their Social Value offer? We work very closely with Commissioners of services to assess and understand what is relevant and proportionate to the contract in terms of social, economic and environmental opportunities. We then engage with the market as appropriate, to provide the opportunity to feedback prior to the issue of the tender

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