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Social net worth

As an intrinsic part of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) demonstrating Social Value is increasingly a prerequisite in winning FM contracts. Guy Battle, CEO, Social Value Portal explains what a successful tender should look like

Facilities Management is on the front line when it comes to meeting the increasing demand for Social Value. The industry therefore needs to know how to generate, measure and report it as part of their day-to-day operations if they are to win work.

Gross spending on public sector procurement in the UK stands at around £379 billion, which suggests that there are significant growth opportunities for organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Of course, it’s a competitive space so those responsible for winning new contracts need to pursue every advantage and this can range from fundamentals such as ensuring compliance through to proving a thorough understanding of the tender’s needs and pain points.

Thanks to almost a decade of working with those bidding for work as well as public sector procurement and specifiers, we have a unique perspective on what it takes to win new contracts.


Social Value is the thread that brings people and organisations together to collaborate on building flourishing and sustainable communities. This is done by making a commitment to improving circumstances for the people living and working in the area where a contract will be fulfilled.

The role of the FM has already evolved from efficient rent collection and environmental building performance to the active promotion of community engagement. On the whole, there is a solid understanding within the sector that a flourishing occupier and its community will lead to a more effective business with a better performing asset. This is where Social Value fits – and it makes sense for the investor as a flourishing community leads to increased land prices, the asset goes up and FMs are fulfilling their fiduciary duty.

As a result, many FM organisations will already be delivering Social Value, but may not realise it – or know that it’s something that can be measured and reported.

The nationally recognised Social Value TOM system(i) (which stands for Themes, Outcomes and Measures) helps organisations to work out the value of these initiatives in financial terms that buyers and other stakeholders will relate to. For instance, we calculate that employing someone who is long-term unemployed is worth around £20,000 in Social Value, 50 volunteering hours donated is around £846 and removing one tonne of carbon emissions is the equivalent of £244 in Social Value – all of which can be justifiably reported in a tender submission.


  • Build the foundations; If it isn’t already, now is the time to hard wire Social Value into your organisation from the top down, empowering the internal team to get involved and form a culture around doing good. It will also make writing the bid less arduous as the data and narrative will already be in place.
  • Understand the ask; It’s really important to do the research, studying the buyer’s organisation, their specific social and environmental priorities and policies and making sure that the information you include is directly relevant to your findings. Build a compelling story around that, make sure you can deliver on your promises and show how your offering is superior to the competition and you won’t go far wrong.
  • Plan well; Buyers will be looking for a well organised plan which stands out so outlining the structure of the Social Value initiatives in line with the measures provided is key. If they are not stipulated, use the Social Value TOM System as a framework – many public sector buyers are familiar with this system. Keep your delivery plan clear, providing details of who will be responsible, what the process for capturing Social Value will be and what reporting methods will be used and in what timescales.
  • Set relevant targets; The local benefit of Social Value initiatives will undoubtedly be critical to the requirements of the tender so setting targets that are relevant and clearly achievable is key. Check the unit of measurements that you will need to use, for example, if the question asks for the time spent on apprenticeships in weeks, use that specific unit. In our experience, conducting a Local Needs Analysis to identify what the area most needs is a useful means of ensuring that targets set are relevant for the project needs.
  • Demonstrate evidence; Buyers need to feel confident that each measure can be achieved so instilling confidence in the targets by providing detailed information on your Social Value proposition and aligning it with the buyer’s goals and objectives will provide reassurance that targets will be met. Wherever possible, demonstrate a strong track record by highlighting individual team member’s experience and expertise, offering case study stories of previous successes and demonstrating the positive impact that your organisation has already made.
  • Show you are a pro; A well-paced document free from errors and brought to life with images and testimonials will demonstrate your organisation’s ability to get the job done. It’s worth considering ways of offering something innovative or unique, that goes above and beyond the core requirements – it could gain extra points for the submission.


One of our partners, leading engineering and environmental professional services firm WSP(ii) has been measuring, evaluating and reporting Social Value since 2020. The firm recently worked with Bristol City Council to provide multi-disciplinary support for new housing delivery across several sites.

As part of the tender delivery, WSP identified an opportunity to support a local Housing Association and three VCSE’s by carrying out accessibility audits on their behalf.

This provided each organisation with a report that outlined opportunities for improvement. Recommendations included; requesting repairs and upgrades of approach routes and street furniture from the council, installing clearer wayfinding and providing clear access guidance.

Emily Binning, Director, Corporate ESG at WSP said: “Thinking local, having clarity on the priorities and desired outcomes, collaborating with others, and being creative in your approach are important factors when responding to Social Value questions in bids. Projects like the one in Bristol are essential to evidence the value WSP can bring to help clients deliver social value locally and improve people’s lives. It also helps inspire and educate individuals and teams to embed Social Value programmes in their projects too.

“Delivering clear and measurable benefits to the communities we serve is a cornerstone of WSP projects. With ESG becoming increasingly important to the commercial success of businesses within our sector and beyond, Social Value has moved from being a ‘nice-to-have’ to an immediate priority. For ESG strategies to be successful, it’s vital that Social Value threads through everything an organisation does and becomes an influencing factor on decision-making.”

(i) https://socialvalueportal.com/solutions/national-toms/

(ii) www.wsp.com/en-gb

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