Service providers have said the government’s social value proposals are "long overdue".
The government published fresh proposals last week setting out what businesses will need to do to fulfil certain social value criteria when seeking to win government contracts.
Jonathan Refoy, group corporate affairs director at Interserve, said: “These changes are long overdue and will play an important role supporting not only the UK Government’s levelling up agenda but also ensuring communities directly see economic, social and environmental benefits from local and national public procurement.
“Social value has to become mainstream across public procurement as it can play such a positive role improving areas such as social mobility.”
Martin Wayman, corporate responsibility manager at ISS UK, told Facilitate: "We think the five outcomes chosen are exactly right and address the key challenges facing individuals, businesses, government and society as a whole in the years ahead. The FM sector overall is incredibly well-positioned to support societal values now and for future generations."
Wayman said that a lot of what the government is stipulating is being addressed by the company in its CR strategy. "We help foster and support new businesses, jobs and skills through our commitment to working with SMEs in our own supply chain, with procurement spending on SMEs rising to 34 per cent in our public sector business last year," he said.
The company also hosts a "Dragons Den" events to allow "SMEs to pitch and build connections with senior leaders across our business". Wayman said the company also has various initiatives to bring down carbon emissions from its vehicle fleet, including fuel efficiency initiatives and introducing hybrid vehicles over time.
Government departments will use the social value model to assess and score suppliers on the wider positive benefits they bring by delivering the contract. The measures seek to promote new jobs and skills, encourage economic growth and prosperity, tackle climate change and level up the UK, according to the Cabinet Office announcement.
The new approach will mean more opportunities for SMEs and social enterprises to win government contracts by demonstrating the value they'd create.
The social value model that departments will assess contracts on includes:
- Supporting Covid-19 recovery, helping local communities manage and recover from the impact of the pandemic;
- Tackling economic inequality, creating new businesses, jobs and skills, as well as increasing supply chain resilience;
- Fighting climate change and reducing waste;
- Driving equal opportunities, reducing the disability employment gap and tackling workforce inequality; and
- Improving health, wellbeing and community integration.