Cabinet Office launches new measures to deliver social value priorities through public procurement

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On 24 September 2020, the Cabinet Office announced the launch of its social value in procurement model, intended to deliver social value to society by making it a key part of the central government public procurement process. Alongside this it has also published Procurement Policy Note 06/20 – taking account of social value in the award of central government contracts (PPN 06/20).

The government originally consulted on a proposed social value in government procurement model in March 2019, which would require central government departments to take account of social impact as part of their award criteria (see Legal update, Cabinet Office publishes consultation on social value in government procurement). The proposed model would require social value to be explicitly evaluated in all central government procurement (where relevant and proportionate), rather than just “considered” as required under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 (see Article, Ask the team: What steps should my authority take to ensure compliance with the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012?).

On 24 September 2020, the government published a summary of responses to the consultation, which stated that a majority of respondents (77%) were in favour of the suggested policy metrics in the proposed model. In the light of this, the government has therefore confirmed that it will be proceeding with the new social value in procurement model.

The key themes and outcomes covered by the model have since been updated by the government to include supporting COVID-19 recovery, tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change and reducing waste, driving equal opportunity and supporting wellbeing. The model will apply to all bidders regardless of their size and type, providing more opportunities for SMEs and social enterprises to win government contracts.

PPN 06/20 provides further details on how the social value model operates and the themes and outcomes covered by it. It applies to procurements covered by the Public Contract Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102) and to all central government departments and their executive agencies and NDPBs.

PPN 06/20 is effective from 24 September 2020, but the new social value model will only apply to government procurements from 1 January 2021.