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Social Value

Social Value

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, implemented in January 2013, placed an obligation on the Council to take into account social economic and environmental wellbeing considerations in connection with public services contracts as part of its preprocurement deliberations.

Social value is a way of thinking about how resources are allocated and requires us as a local authority to look beyond the cost and quality of awarding a contract and to take a broader look at the potential collective benefit to the local community and the city.

Plymouth City Council’s working definition of social value is:
‘a process whereby the organisation procures and commissions goods, services and works in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits to society and the economy, whilst minimising damage to the environment’

Social Value Policy

The requirements for considering Social Value within commissioning and procurement activity is as follows;

Below the respective Official Journal of European threshold (OJEU) for Goods, Works & Services - Discretionary requirement to consider and apply (as appropriate) Social Value as part of the evaluation weightings

Above the respective Official Journal of European threshold (OJEU) for Goods, Works & Services - Mandatory requirement to consider and apply Social Value as part of the evaluation weightings

Where Social Value evaluation weightings are to be applied, they shall be between 5% and up to a maximum 25% of the total evaluation weighting.

Implementing and embedding Social Value at a local level involves making commissioning and procurement decisions in a new way that ensures wider benefits are considered throughout the commissioning cycle and how this links to the strategic themes and policy areas within the Plymouth Plan.

Principles of the Social Value Policy

The Social Value Policy also provides a framework by which an organisation can set out its approach to Social Value e.g. to determine which contracts Social Value will be applied to (value/scope) and the minimum weightings that will be set aside for Social Value in Quality/Price matrices.

The key outcome of this Policy is to maximise opportunities from our spend with suppliers in a way that make a positive social, economic and environmental outcomes delivering measurable Social Value returns. In consideration of Social Value in how the Council commissions and procures, we will:

  • Give due consideration to Social Value outcomes for all our contracts in respect of goods, works and services
  • Apply the considerations to Social Value in a proportional and relevant way
  • Consider it at each stage in relation to commissioning, tendering and contract management
  • Take account of this in how we devolve goods, works or services to others
  • Do so in a manner that makes positive contributions linked to our strategic priorities.

Aims of the Policy

Social Contributions

  • Helping to tackle deprivation and social inequalities
  • Overturning social exclusion
  • Supporting social cohesion and safer communities
  • Positive engagement with community groups and those disadvantaged


  • Supporting local economy in a way that micro, small/medium sized enterprises, co-operatives, mutuals, social enterprises and the voluntary/ community sectors can thrive
  • Promotion and creating of local jobs and/or training to enable positive career outcomes


  • Supports key environmental initiatives such as Plastic Free Plymouth
  • Fosters a culture of learning and education around a sound and sustainable future for our communities

Social Value Measurement Tool

We will utilise a set of National TOMs developed by the Social Value Portal that has been agreed and approved by the Local Government Association’s National Advisory Group for Procurement. This will allow us to attribute a recognised monetary value towards specific areas of Social value and then link these back to the aspects of our social value policy, the Plymouth Plan.

Social Value Measurement Tool - Template

Guidance - Submitting a good Social Value offer

Procurement and equality of opportunity

We're committed to meeting our legal duties under the six strands of equality. Our aim is to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and promote positive relations in the delivery of all services. The Council is responsible for meeting its duty on all functions, including those which are carried out by an external supplier. All organisations wishing to provide services on behalf of the Council must be able to demonstrate that all reasonable practicable steps are taken to allow equal access and equal treatment in employment and service delivery for all.