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The importance of Social Value in Public Sector procurement

Since January 2021, Social Value has become a mandate for central government procurement. Businesses seeking to win government work have had to set out how they will also deliver on government social value priorities (accounting for a minimum of 10% of the overall score).

This is just the beginning – businesses seeking to win central government and indeed wider public sector work should now start considering how their propositions can deliver real social value. Not just at 10% either – in some cases we are already seeing up to 30% of the overall score accounted to social value delivery.

But what is Social Value?

Well, it’s easier to define what it isn’t. Social Value is not the same as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR is more of a passive, secondary afterthought, understanding an organisation’s responsibility to address issues and initiatives in society. Social Value is more about taking accountability for making these changes happen, and driving a culture and choice-led philosophy within your business, delivering better outcomes and stakeholder priorities as a core business activity.

There is often a misnomer that SMEs have much less advantages to leverage over larger organisations, and are therefore start two steps behind. This couldn’t be more wrong. Smaller organisations can much better understand the local community and geographical area, something which can often hinder larger organisations. It’s also true that for smaller, more localised organisations, investment in the local community will generate greater return on investment (ROI) than for larger organisations. For a more detailed look at social value benefits for SMEs, see our recent blog ‘Embracing Social Value in the UK Public Sector’.

“Be the change you want to see.”

This quote, adapted from the Mahatma Gandhi, was brought up by Natalie Wadley, Director of Social Value Quality Mark in our Social Value webinar, and sums up the beginning of the process of embracing social value.

If your motivation for delivering better social value is to simply win contracts, or satisfy the buyer, you’re only starting with one foot out of the door. With Social Value only becoming more important, organisations must learn to embrace social value, not just simply adopt it. Social value focus is not a strategy, it’s a culture – an obligation. Failure to adopt this mentality could lead you to fall behind - at our recent Social Value webinar, 82% stated they believe their organisation is already delivering social value activities.

The wider benefits for embracing Social Value – not just for procurement – cannot be ignored either. UKCloud was awarded the level 1 accreditation from Social Value Business in January 2021, and are now very close to achieving the level 2 award. This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to deliver social value on a comprehensive level and gives recognition for the work UKCloud do in delivering social benefit as a core business activity. Achieving this recognition also benefits your partners – demonstrating the social awareness of their supply chain. Aiding in the success of your strategic relationships will encourage more organisations to become socially aware, causing a domino effect of commercial and social benefit.

UKCloud are committed to making transformation happen in the UK public sector.

For more information on UKCloud’s commitment to social value please visit -