Social Value UK has launched a Thought Leadership Group called Contract for Change. This group will bring together volunteers to collaborate, and embed the principles of social value into procurement and commissioning best practice.

This initiative is a major opportunity for the procurement profession to make a significant contribution to a national policy initiative which has implications at every level of society and within each of the organisations we work for and organisations we work with.

This Thought Leadership Group will harness the know-how from procurement and social value practitioners from across civil society, the public and particularly the private sectors to embed this in mainstream practice.

The Opportunity

Approaches to implementing social value within procurement have taken great strides forward over recent years. This has included the development of legislation and policy, while various practical techniques such as measurement tools and methodologies have been adopted. Both procurement professionals, stakeholders and suppliers now have a far greater understanding of the potential of social value, with many procurements already incorporating specific social value evaluation criteria.

The opportunity today is to amalgamate existing work and create an extensive and readily available body of best practice that will enable professionals and organisations to embed social value more effectively into strategic and operating practices.

Social Value UK as a national chapter of Social Value International. We advocate for a ‘principles-led’ approach to accounting for social value. These principles can also be embedded throughout an organisation from functional strategy all the way down to detailed procurement operating practices. This would include embedding social value creation in:

  • Organisational procurement strategy development;
  • Business planning and business case development;
  • Procurement and commissioning policy, governance and processes;
  • Category management, including pre-market engagement, specification development, sourcing, contract management and SRM;
  • Performance management, measurement of outcomes and Social Return on Investment (SROI).

Steering Group

Contract for Change is led by a Steering Group of cross-sectoral leaders who are passionate about collaborating, and embedding the principles of social value into procurement and commissioning best practice.

Members of the Steering Group can be found here.

The Steering Group meets once a month, Powerpoints and minutes can be found below:

February 2020 Steering Group Powerpoint & Minutes 

January 2020 Steering Group Powerpoint & Minutes 

Members of the Steering Group can be found here.

December 2019 Steering Group Powerpoint & Minutes 

The Approach

The Thought Leadership Group will therefore gather examples of best practice procurement approaches from across civil society organisations, the public and private sector, then combine, develop and share these to create a suite of strategic and operational approaches, tools, templates and guidance that will benefit all stakeholder groups. The initial step is to collaboratively establish the following:

• Terms of Reference;

• An implementation plan;

• Best practice guidance;

• Agreed suite of specific tools and templates;

• Develop practical case studies.

The entire approach (relevant documents, e.g. Terms of Reference), process and intellectual property will be made freely available via Social Value UK to add to the body of knowledge that already exists.

The Principles of Social Value

Involve stakeholders – Inform what gets measured and how this is measured and valued in an account of social value by involving stakeholders.

Understand what changes – Articulate how change is created and evaluate this through evidence gathered, recognising positive and negative changes as well as those that are intended and unintended.

Value the things that matter – Making decisions about allocating resources between different options needs to recognise the values of stakeholders. Value refers to the relative importance of different outcomes. It is informed by stakeholders’ preferences.

Only include what is material – Determine what information and evidence must be included in the accounts to give a true and fair picture, such that stakeholders can draw reasonable conclusions about impact.

Do not over-claim – Only claim the value that activities are responsible for creating
Be transparent – Demonstrate the basis on which the analysis may be considered accurate and honest, and show that it will be reported to and discussed with stakeholders.

Verify the result – Ensure appropriate independent assurance

How Can you Help?

Get Involved! We want to involve as many people from as wide a range of backgrounds as possible in this work. We are grateful to our board member David Shields who has committed time and resources to help get this initiative off the ground. If you feel you have something to contribute to any of the groups described above, please get in touch by emailing Lindsay.Rosul@apsiz.co.uk.

Contribute! If you have any guidance, case studies, documents or templates to share, please also send these to the following email: Lindsay.Rosul@apsiz.co.uk. This will help us baseline what is already available and inform the outline programme plan.

Download the full letter on Contract for Change by SVUK Board Member David Shields here.

Please read our Terms of Reference alternatively download here.