Social value expands the meaning of value. Extending far beyond profit, it’s about creating a net positive impact both now and in our collective move towards a sustainable future. Social value represents a significant change in public procurement, introducing a new requirement for organisations like ours to produce positive social, economic, and environmental impacts.
The Social Value Act introduced in 2013 requires people who commission public services to consider how they can also secure positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. Thus, purchasing authorities are now think wider than monetary value alone, shifting the way organisations like our approach the work we do. The government later introduced a new Social Value Model applying to all new procurement activity from 1st January 2021, which requires explicit evaluation of social value when awarding most contracts.
Also extremely relevant here is consideration of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors. In a similar way to social value requirements, organisations are being asked to demonstrate how their business impacts the world, their contribution to society and how they conduct themselves. It follows that consciously working to embed ESG into the way businesses operate and become an environmentally and socially responsible business is essential.
The 5 social value themes
The government’s Social Value Model is split into five themes:
- Covid-19 recovery – help the economy, individuals, and communities to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
- Tackling economic inequality – create new businesses, jobs, skills, and increase supply chain resilience and capacity.
- Fighting climate change – effective stewardship of the environment.
- Equal opportunity – reduce the disability employment gap and tackle workforce inequality.
- Wellbeing – improve health, wellbeing, and community integration.
All these themes already play into what we do at CMS, aligning with our mission to build teams that consistently deliver innovative, expert, and sustainable solutions for our clients’ projects. Wellbeing and sustainability are frequent key considerations in projects we work on, and behind the scenes we are committed to prioritising the wellbeing of our team, building our employees’ skillsets, and ensuring equal opportunities for all.
How we’ll deliver social value
As an organisation led by our vision to become renowned for creative, functional buildings that improve quality of life for everyone involved, we are committed to ensuring our work has a positive impact. We recognise the significant effect that social value can have on individuals, communities, and the environment. As such, as well as continuing delivering our services to a high standard, we are now measuring and rising to the challenge of increasing the level of social value we are delivering, both today and for the future.
We are currently working towards ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) certification, reflecting our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment. This is serving to reinforce the actions we are already taking to ensure sustainability across all aspects of our organisation, whilst also prompting further improvements. As well as introducing an efficient waste management system and subscribing to a supplier offering zero carbon electricity, we also recently invested in two electric vehicles, reducing our reliance on petrol cars for business travel.
Additionally, this year we introduced a health insurance plan offering our employees a range of wellbeing benefits and supported our Office Manager in qualifying as a Mental Health First Aider, further adding to the ways in which we look after our team. We recognise the vital importance of our people remaining healthy and well, both for themselves and with regards to how their presence at work filters out.
Supporting young people looking for career opportunities in the construction industry is also important to us. We frequently attend school careers fairs, take on students through apprenticeship schemes, and offer work experience placements that allow secondary school pupils to gain real experience of working in the fields of architecture, project management and surveying. To further contribute value within society, CMS selects a Charity of the Year to raise funds for each year, giving our team the opportunity to support an important cause.
Raising the priority of social value is ensuring that organisations go further than delivering value for money. Equally important is their wider impact on society, the economy, and the environment.