Simetrica-Jacobs welcomes the proposed Procurement Bill as part of the continued development in the government’s approach to incorporating a broader conceptualisation of value creation within the procurement processes for public bodies. It builds on the significant progress made over the last decade, with the Social Value Act, Procurement Policy Note 06/20, and the subsequent Social Value Model.
Simetrica-Jacobs CEO, Mary-Kathryn Adams, said:
“We have witnessed significant strides in recent years towards incorporating wider benefits into the procurement decision-making framework – increased clarity in this area will help to drive further progress that will ultimately benefit individuals, communities, and UK taxpayers as a whole. Through our work across sectors, we have seen how organisations are striving to enhance their impact on society through a range of channels. These organisations are keen to see greater guidance about how such impact should be measured and evidenced.”
The proposal to move away from ‘Most Economically Advantageous Tender’ to ‘Most Advantageous Tender’ sends a strong signal in terms of changing the criteria for deciding tenders. This shift strengthens the requirement for organisations to more actively account for their wider impact on society. Equally, the focus on public benefit is welcome as it ensures that a broad range of impacts can be considered in the process, with an emphasis on assessing and evidencing the alignment between how the goods and services in the procurement are delivered and the wider needs of society.
We note that the term ‘social value’ has increasing traction within the public procurement landscape and has helped drive positive change to date. We believe retaining the focus on 'social value' would enable progress to continue, provided we have a common understanding of the different ways ‘value’ is generated. Therefore, we would like to see greater consistency in how such value is conceptualised, implemented and evidenced within the procurement process. We would urge that the approach to measurement and valuation needs to be consistent with existing key government guidance documents, such as the Green Book and Magenta Book. A more consistent approach with regard to evaluation in this area will ultimately allow for greater flexibility in the delivery of social value/public benefit, enabling projects, programmes and activities to be deployed in ways that remain needs-based and people-centred.
Our key recommendations are threefold:
- There should be clarity on the use of the term ‘public benefit’ in the bill and its relationship to existing terminology around ‘social value’;
- Alongside the bill, further guidance should be provided, detailing how organisations should approach consistent impact measurement;
- As part of this, firms bidding for tenders should be required to provide more robust evidence of their impact, evidencing the changes they have created, rather than just the activities that they have undertaken.
Further information about the Procurement Bill can be found at: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3159
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