Social Value Unit
As the result of SIB’s remit on advice and development work the continued development of Social Value has become a political expectation.
The Social Value Unit advise the public sector on including social value in public sector contracts. It does this by helping public bodies to design, implement and monitor social value that is included in their contracts, for example, employment opportunities, to disadvantaged groups, ethical supply chains and environmental issues.
In this way, the contracts can deliver improvements to key quality-of-life indicators including personal well-being, social cohesion and inclusion, equal opportunities and sustainable development.
The Social Value Unit was established in SIB in 2014 with a mandate from Executive Office ministers. It works with government departments, councils and arms-length bodies. Prior to 2019, social value was primarily achieved through contract performance clauses, through the Buy Social approach. For example, Targeted Recruitment and Training (TR&T) clauses require contractors to allocate a proportion of the total employment on a contract to people who are disadvantaged in the labour market.
Since 2019, the Social Value Unit has developed other social considerations and has drafted new guidance for their use. These new approaches include:
- work placements for people facing disadvantage;
- skills development for existing employees;
- opportunities for Social Enterprises/SME’s in the supply chain;
- initiatives which encourage fair work practices;
- business in education activities; and
- digital inclusion activities.
In July 2021 the Northern Ireland Executive published Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 01/21 Scoring Social Value. This document has been approved by the Executive and has the status of government policy, rather than guidance. PPN 01/21 mandates that from 1 June 2022 tenders must allocate a minimum of 10% of the total award criteria to social value. This minimum weighting will apply to procurement at or above the thresholds set out in the Public Contracts Regulations.
SIB is championing Social Value across the public sector by assisting public bodies to design, implement and monitor social value included in public contracts. The Social Value Unit have been asked to develop guidance and training for the implementation of PPN 01/21.
The Social Value Unit have dedicated Social Value Advisers who are able to work with public bodies to provide expert advice on maximising the social value delivered by public procurement, in line with the Contracting Authority’s strategic priorities.
For further information contact:
Mary McKee, Head of Social Value Unit / Strategic Adviser