One year on since the introduction of 10% weighting for SSV in procurement

  • 11/04/2023
  • Written by NOE CPC

In April 2022 NHS England introduced a 10% minimum social value into all procurement, which was outlined in the Procurement Policy Note 06/20 (PPN). The PPN explains that when evaluating tender responses, government departments will use the new model to score potential suppliers on their additional social, environmental, and economic commitments proposed to be delivered through the lifetime of the contract. The NHS is focused on achieving its goal of a net zero NHS by 2045, the introduction of the minimum 10% social value weighting in all tendering, plus the publication of the NHS specific net zero and social value guidance ensures NHS procurement teams are now empowered to strive towards this goal through seeking additional benefit in their respective tendering. One year on since the introduction, we reflect on the changes we have observed as an NHS procurement organisation.

Through the lead-up to the minimum 10% social weighting being implemented in April 2022, we were led by the Social Value Model and supplementary guidance that was published by NHS England. Using this guidance, we developed some internal systems which meant that when we were looking to run a new framework project, we could create a market risk classification and a business case. As an organisation, we applied social value into our internal processes at an early stage, which we did prior to 1 April 2022. Since then, any tenders that we have published for new framework agreements or for bespoke work, have been applied with the minimum 10% social value weighting.

Within the PPN, the NHS adopted the five key Social Value Model themes to enable NHS contracting authorities to seek relevant, additional benefit, which are:

  • Covid-19 recovery
  • Tackling economic inequality
  • Fighting climate change (mandatory in all tendering)
  • Equal opportunity
  • Wellbeing

We also embedded social value into the pre-procurement activities to help the project leads understand the relevancy of each of the themes. The PPN notices were published in advance so that each procurement organisation could get ready for the change and begin implementing its own internal processes. As well as identifying the five social value themes, we created templates so that whichever themes were picked out had some example questions that our team could use along with examples of model award criteria.

Currently, around 80% of our framework agreements have the minimum 10% social value weighting applied to them. Some of our frameworks, for example, CPC Drive, have a higher weighting than 10% as we felt this framework needed to have a strong focus on the social value aspect, due to the reduction of air pollution being a key area in NHS England’s adoption of the Social Value Model. Working with NHS Procurement in Partnership (PiP), our collaboration with three other NHS procurement hubs, we also established a Social Value and Sustainability workstream to review our current portfolio of framework agreements and identify which of these we can apply social value to at the call-off stage.

Social value is important to everyone working within the NHS and it is everyone’s role to work toward developing a greener NHS. Suppliers are no exception to this; they are key to achieving the NHS net-zero ambition. Along with NHS Procurement in Partnership, our Supplier Relationship Managers, and our new Sustainability and Social Value Manager, we are continuing to develop our social value support for our members and suppliers.

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