Bloom’s View: Using social value in a post-COVID recovery

Sarah MacNab, Head of Social Value at Bloom, explains why it’s more important than ever for the public sector to consider social value as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a procurement professional with almost 20 years’ experience working across both public and private sectors, I have always been passionate about social value and making a difference. In the past, social value was considered as more of a “tick box” exercise rather than something that was measured in a tangible and accurate way with clearly documented outcomes, but it’s clear to see that social value is today at the forefront of the majority of our conversations.

“The surprising events of 2020 and 2021 have seen social value rapidly climb up the agenda for public sector bodies. As the country builds back from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is increasing pressure on the public sector to better manage their social value efforts and deliver positive outcomes to the people, communities and economies that need it the most.

“Social value is set to play a key role in helping the UK to recover from the social and economic fall-out of the pandemic. By putting SME and third sector organisations firmly at the heart of the country’s recovery strategy, the government can ensure that public money is being invested back into local communities and spent in a way that delivers tangible social impact, from the creation of local jobs and opportunities to increasing supply chain resilience.

“As part of this recovery strategy, the Cabinet Office released Procurement Policy Note 06/20 (PPN 06/20), which requires central government bodies to go above and beyond the guidelines set out by the Social Value Act 2012 by ensuring that all major procurements explicitly evaluate social value, rather than just considering it. This PPN has helped to set out how to take account of social value in the award of central government contracts by using the Social Value Model. Central government organisations can use the model to take account of the additional social benefits that can be achieved in the delivery of its contracts, using policy outcomes aligned with this government’s priorities.

“At Bloom, we have a proven track record in empowering central government and the wider public sector to deliver on their social value goals. By accessing our fully compliant open-access marketplace, public sector buyers can use their procurement spend to create a sustainable supply chain, drive growth back into local economies and, ultimately, change lives for the better.

“Despite the economic challenges of COVID-19, we have continued to drive social value through the veins of Bloom. It’s embedded within our systems, policies and processes, which has had a real positive impact on how we are able to measure, manage and maximise the social value that we can offer our customers and the communities they operate in. As the only procurement specialist to be awarded Level Two of the Social Value Certificate, our team can evidence that our business systems and processes enable us to help our community of customers to reach their social value aspirations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”