Social Value

Social Value

The Public Service (Social Value) Act 2012 requires all public authorities to consider how the services they commission will improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of communities. It involves looking beyond the price of each individual contract and looking at what the collective benefit to a community is when a public body chooses to award a contract. Social value asks the question: ‘If we spend on the delivery of services, can that same investment be used to also deliver a wider benefit to the community?’ 

Social Enterprise UK has produced a basic guide to the implementation of the Social Value Act. You'll also find a range of resources at the Social Value Hub


The Act offers real opportunities for local authorities and publiuc sector organisations to increase the range of training and employment opportunities available locally to people with a disability. 

The legislation allows public sector authorities to consider factors outside of cost when awarding contracts. Social clauses may include social requirements within the technical specification and award criteria of a contract, where they are relevant to the subject of the contract and compliant with public procurement legislation, as well as the UK‟s value for money policy (or equivalent commitment).

Social clauses can be used in public procurement tendering procedures to prioritise social enterprises employing disadvantaged workers for contracts for certain activities. Some services can be reserved under Regulation 20 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. You can find a directory of supported businesses on our website. You'll find further information about Regulation 20 in this workshop pdf from Anthony Collins Solicitors. The New LOcal Government Netwoprk has also produced a discussion report about social value and procurement.

Social requirements can be fully embraced in procurement practice providing certain criteria are met. These criteria are:

  • Social requirements should reflect policy adopted by the public body
  • Social requirements should be capable of being measured in terms of performance
  • Social requirements drafted in the specification become part of the contract
  • Social requirements should be defined in ways that do not discriminate against any bidders across the European Union 


Social clauses can be used within supply chain procurement to create training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged or under-represented people.

Local authorities and other public sector organisations can use social clauses to increase opportunities for the provision of supported internships, apprenticeships and employment for people with a disability.

Ready for Business offers examples of sample clauses within OJEU contract notices, pre-qualification questionnaires and invitations to tender. An example within the OJEU notice might be:

“Under this procurement the contractor is required to participate actively in the economic and social regeneration of the [locality / community served by the contracting authority]. Accordingly contract performance conditions may relate in particular to social and environmental considerations. Contract conditions will be detailed in the [invitation to tender / contract documents]”