• Alastair Cooper
  • 3 minutes
  • 24/03/2022

NHS social value guidance, now in

As NHS England publishes its guidance for social value in procurement ahead of full implementation on 1 April 2022, Nathan Goode, Chief Strategy Officer at Social Value Portal, shares his thoughts.

We’re delighted to see the publication of this guidance, which sets out NHS England’s vision for social value and delivering net zero carbon. The starting point is the Government’s Social Value Model, adapted for health sector needs and capabilities, and the result is a balanced, holistic approach.

While the NHS guidance places a high priority on its Net Zero objective (60% of NHS carbon emissions occur within its supply chains), this is set in a wider social context and recognises the importance of local priorities. While tackling climate change is key, the guidance also emphasises the NHS’s role as an anchor institution and its capacity to use its assets and resources to maximise social, economic, and environmental benefits, improve health outcomes and tackle health inequalities.

What does this mean?

With a minimum 10% weighting for social value in tenders from 1st April, this guidance sets out the desired direction of travel for NHS England.

The key points to note are:

  • Fighting climate change as a theme must be included in all procurement
  • All procurement undertaken should contribute to NHS Net Zero and Social Value Goals
  • Net Zero & Social Value weighting must be at or above the 10% minimum
  • Net Zero and Social Value responses are NOT activities already being undertaken (must be added value)
  • Suppliers need to provide clear metrics that will form the contractual requirements at award
  • Proportionality is key – the process must be inclusive for SMEs and voluntary, community and social enterprises, and the social value questions must be appropriate to the tender.

The opportunity in the health sector is huge and the payback is clear – healthy, resilient and sustainable communities mean the health system is better able to manage the demands on its own resources, so at Social Value Portal we are really excited to see this now gathering momentum.

Drawing on our experience with the Social Value Model and the National TOMs, we’ve been working closely with NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) to develop a practical solution alongside this guidance that will enable NHS organisations to put it into practice and suppliers to maximise their social value offer. The resulting tool will be released shortly, so stay tuned. Follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn to be among the first to hear when it’s ready for you to use.

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