The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 “require[s] public authorities to have regard to economic, social and environmental well-being in connection with public services contracts; and for connected purposes”. This means that commissioners should consider the overall value delivered by a provider, and not just the economic value and impacts.

In this way, organisations bidding for contracts can demonstrate the “added value” that they can bring to a contract, which might outweigh the benefits provided by a cheaper, but less socially minded competitor. In reality, the impact of the Social Value Act has been encouraging, but a concern is that many VCSE sector organisations working on the front line of service delivery have not yet felt the effects of it in their contracting relationships.

Updates put in place in 2020 have made it mandatory for central government departments to explicitly include social value in all major new procurements. One way that this is being done is through the introduction of the The Social Value Model which has been established to support commissioners to think about multiple aspects of social value when awarding contracts.

The Social Value Model considers impact across five themes and seven policy outcomes:


Policy Outcomes

Theme 1

COVID-19 recovery

Help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of COVID-19

Theme 2

Tackling economic inequality

Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills

Increase supply chain resilience and capacity

Theme 3

Fighting climate change

Effective stewardship of the environment

Theme 4

Equal opportunity

Reduce the disability employment gap

Tackle workforce inequality

Theme 5


Improve health and wellbeing

Improve community cohesion

By having an understanding of the Social Value criteria against which bids will be based, organisations can begin to consider their impact across these five key areas and tailor their applications accordingly and give themselves the best possible chance of success. As with all aspects of bid writing, this brings a need for robust data collection, stakeholder mapping and gathering the views of service users.

How can LORIC help?

With experience of engaging in social impact evaluation with a wide range of organisations, the LORIC team can support with a range of activities to support an effective evaluation of the Social Value provided by a service or project, including:

  • data audits,
  • stakeholder mapping,
  • qualitative research (interviews/ surveys/focus groups),
  • data analysis,
  • producing evaluation reports.

For more information, please contact