The latest news, events and articles from ESPO, including case studies, editorials, blog posts and featured products.

Social Value

Social Value

What is social value?

Social value is about improving economic, social and environmental well-being through public spending. The requirements for this vary between different local authorities and public sector bodies, depending on their stakeholder requirements and the needs of their local areas. When suppliers submit social value offers to customers, they should seek to match their offers with the customer’s desired social value deliverables. 

These may include:


Reducing impact on the environment


Using sustainable products and materials


Supporting local businesses and supply chains


Creating opportunities for local employment, training and apprenticeships

Gaining social value through our frameworks

Many of our frameworks are social value enabled, and in order to ensure it is delivered, it is important to consider it both before and during procurement stages: 


  • Once you have found a supplier(s) that meets your requirements, it is important to assess their understanding and utilisation of social value. By doing this you are actively encouraging better social value offers from the market.
  • Ensure that your organisation’s social value priorities are clear.
  • Consider suppliers who are likely to have a good understanding of local community needs and translate this into a social value offer.


  • The tender documentation should make clear that a genuine social value offer is being sought.  
  • Avoid asking for vague requests: ensure your documentation clearly states your social value requirements so they can be measured throughout your contract.
  • You should make it clear that the delivery of your social value requirements will form part of the contract.  

Social value within our frameworks

In order to help our customers achieve their social value responsibilities, we have built social value into a range of our frameworks. We assess social value criteria at framework procurement stage so that customers can include it within the objective criteria they use to award a call-off under an ESPO framework.

Typically, we assign a minimum weighting of 10% to social value in the award criteria of our framework agreements, and ask two questions:

Commitment to social value:

Suppliers are asked to demonstrate an understanding of social value, indicate whether they have a social value policy or programme in place, and discuss schemes currently in place within their organisation that positively impact the social, economic and environmental well-being of the areas in which they operate.

Social value experience:

Suppliers are asked to provide an example of a social value initiative that they worked with a customer to implement, the outcomes of this initiative and how it linked to the customer's social value priorities.


The Cabinet Office encourage inclusion of social value as best practice where proportionate and appropriate to the contract. As it is becoming increasingly important, we are all trying to do our bit to ensure we are offering a safe, fair and responsible service. To ensure social value is embedded, it needs to be addressed before, during and after the procurement stages. ESPO’s frameworks offer a straightforward and speedy way to ensure that your organisation is compliant with social value requirements.