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Posted by Sarah Brown on 17 Feb '14

How supporting your local community can increase your success at winning business

The Social Value Act is based on the principle that value is not just about price, and organisations that meet the wider needs of the community should be rewarded.

As the economy picks up larger organisations and the public sector are starting to tender out more contracts. And an act that in theory can in to force in January 2013 will become more important.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act places a duty on Commissioners to consider Social Value but curiously neither defines the meaning of Social Value nor supplies guidance in its measurement. However the Cabinet Office stated its understanding as follows:

“In these tight economic times it is particularly important that maximum value in public spending is achieved. However currently some commissioners miss opportunities to secure both the best price and meet the wider social, economic and environmental needs of the community. Commissioners and procurers should be taking a value for money approach – not lowest cost – to assessing contracts and the Act complements that approach.”

In other words organisations that have got a story which shows that they are good citizens, all things being equal are more likely to win a tender.

So what can you do to support your local community? This is more than Corporate Social Responsibility but does include it. (Here's some of what we are doing)

Thinking about recruitment do you recruit locally? Look to take on long term unemployed, make an effort to attract people with disabilities, take on apprentices?

Thinking about your purchasing – do you buy local and treat your suppliers fairly paying promptly?

Do you allow your staff time off to volunteer? Do you encourage them to cycle to work and do you have other environmental policies which protect the local environment?

Do you train your staff so that they can offer an inclusive service to anyone? Have you signed up as a Dementia Friend?

Even though there is no clear definition of social value Europe is now looking at putting in similar legislation so it is here to stay.

To get ahead of the game begin recording what you do and thinking about what else you could do. The more you can support it with case studies or numbers the more you will get a strong marketing message.