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Procurement in a Nutshell – Government publishes social value consultation

The Cabinet Office has published a consultation seeking views on how the Government should take account of social value in the award of its contracts. It is hoped that the findings will help level the playing field for all types of business when bidding for public sector contracts.

Click here to view the consultation.

Although the consultation confirms that the Government will continue to attempt to achieve the best commercial outcome, it also recognises that “a missed opportunity to deliver social value is a cost that has to be absorbed elsewhere in public services”.

Consequently, going forwards, it is explained that when selecting who to award public contracts to, the Government will consider:

  • The use of firms of all sizes, including those owned by under-represented groups;
  • The safety of supply chains, in the hope that this will reduce the risk of modern slavery and cyber security issues;
  • Encouraging firms to employ individuals from diverse backgrounds;
  • Focusing on environmental sustainability; and
  • Encouraging firms to prioritise staff training to improve their employees’ long-term employability.

Commenting on the approach, a spokesman from the Cabinet explained:

“It is right that we demand that the organisations we work with meet the high standards we need to protect our environment and employ workforces which represent our diverse society, including people with disabilities and those from ethnic minorities.

By making sure that these social values are reflected not just across the Government but through all the companies we work with, we will take a major step towards our goal of creating an economy that works for everyone.”

Finally, with regard to the weighting to be applied to bids, the consultation document explains that:

“In order for the social impact to be a differentiator between bids we are proposing that, where there is the potential for social value, departments must apply a minimum of a 10% weighting to social value in the evaluation. Departments would be free to apply a higher weighting if they deemed it appropriate but they should not apply less than 10%.”

Why is this important?

Given that the proposed changes represent a substantial development in terms of the way the Government evaluates tenders for its contracts we would strongly recommend that interested parties submit responses expressing their views. The consultation is due to close at 11:45pm on 10 June 2019.

If you have any queries in relation to this, or in relation to procurement more generally, please click here or contact our procurement hotline on 0191 204 4464.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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