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If you want to win public contracts, you will need to start considering social value

Social value has once again been on the agenda in the last few weeks, with the UK government planning to announce that businesses wanting to win public sector contracts will have to do more to help improve society. Very soon, businesses will no longer get away with simply paying lip service to social value when bidding for public contracts.

Here’s an update on recent government announcements:

– Oliver Dowden (Minister for implementation in the Cabinet Office) announced that when awarding government contracts, social value would now need to be considered, including sustainability and workforce diversity.

– As part of considering the social impact of suppliers when awarding contracts, the government would also be looking to increase the number of SMEs that win contracts.

– Earlier this month, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced its SME Action Plan, which repeats a target that £1 in every £3 spent should go to SMEs by 2022. DBEIS said it would spend an extra £35m with small businesses.

– Dowden said bidders would be encouraged to employ people from diverse backgrounds, including those with disabilities and from ethnic minorities.

– Supply chain safety will be considered, including modern slavery risks and cyber security, as well as environmental sustainability credentials and firms that prioritise staff training to boost long-term employability.

– Dowden also announced that there would be a public consultation held over the next 12 weeks to seek industry input on what metrics should be taken into account by central government when evaluating social value.

– Earlier this year, the government unveiled its outsourcing playbook, providing guidance to departments to ensure they work with a diverse and healthy marketplace of companies, including small businesses and charities.

With these plans, the Cabinet Office intends to create a “significant cultural shift for both the public sector and industry”

If you have not done so already, it is worth starting to think about how you can add social value to your business. If you need any help or have any questions about this or your public sector bids, feel free to call us on 01202 237506 or email

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