Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

The TOMs Framework

What does ``TOMs`` stand for?

“TOMs” stands for Themes, Outcomes and Measures. The founding principle of the TOMs is to provide the connection between a broad vision for social improvement (“Themes”) with strategic objectives (“Outcomes”), which in turn can then be expressed as measurable activities (“Measures”).

How can I learn more about social value and the TOMs?

You can read more on the National TOMs Framework here and the 2021 updates here.

Portal members have access to a dedicated Social Value Advisor who will provide training and guidance. For our suppliers, we offer helpful documentation within the Portal including the National TOMs 2021 Framework and the TOMs Measures Handbook 2021. If you aren’t currently using the Social Value Portal, you can register for a free Portal account here and gain access to our guidance resources.

How is the TOMs Framework being embedded in Scotland?

A number of Scottish organisations are already working with the TOMs. The principle of social value in procurement is well established in Scotland and, much like Wales, based on different legislation compared to England, including a qualitative focus in tender evaluation. The TOMs is a highly flexible framework in terms of its scope and application, as shown through the development of the Welsh TOMs, which were mapped to the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. There are plans to develop an open-source version of the TOMs for Scotland that reflects its specific procurement and policy drivers. In the meantime, organisations looking to report the delivery of social value in Scotland can still use the TOMs Framework.

Can I use the National TOMs for my own platform?

The use of the National TOMs Framework, including values and figures provided or accessed through the calculator, is covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You can read more on licensing and copyright here.

Social value

What is social value?

Learn more about social value here.

What is the National Social Value Taskforce?

The National Social Value Taskforce (NSVTF) was founded in 2016 to establish a good practice framework to integrate the Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012 into the UK public sector and business community. The NSVTF is a subgroup of the Local Government Association’s National Advisory Group for procurement. Visit the Taskforce website for more info.

How can I get involved in the Taskforce?

Visit the Taskforce website and request to become a member here.

Who determines what social value to create and how is this decided?

The accepted national scale for baseline units and proxy values is the National TOMs framework. This is a minimum reporting standard based on national averages that are derived from: central government’s The Green Book, HM Treasury data, the Office of National Statistics, the Unit Cost Database, and other publicly available sources to give confidence and clarity in our ability to claim what is delivered. Our members also have access to localised proxy values which are more accurate values taken based on the geographic location of delivery.

How does Social Value Portal offer value to the private sector?

Social Value Portal can offer measurement and management of social value to the private sector as well. Hear what some of the private sector organisations we work with have to say by viewing the National Social Value Conference videos on-demand.

Can social value be delivered outside of the UK?

There is no national policy to adopt the TOMs universally. However, as the framework is an open-source resource, many public and private sector organisations are already adopting them to measure the social value that is being delivered across their activities. In addition to this, there are many clients that have partnered with Social Value Portal to embed their own reporting within our online tool.

Public sector and measuring social value for suppliers

Do local authorities use TOMs to monitor suppliers?

The TOMs are used to meet the objectives of the project, essentially to monitor the delivery on what was promised during the tender process. As suppliers are allowed to select what TOMs they can deliver on in their social value submission, it is then essentially their choice of measures they are then monitored on in delivery.

Do social value weightings vary from sector to sector?

We often see that procuring bodies will vary their social value weighting depending on the size and scope of the contract. For example, we see a higher weighting on construction and infrastructure contracts (around 20%) and lower weighting for digital solutions and professional services (closer to 10%). However, in some cases, leading organisations will apply up to 30% on some contracts, with 10% on environmental measures alone, as they may feel the value can be maximised on specific contracts based on the sector they work in.

Is there an average ideal social value return per contract value? (eg £0.50 social value for each £1 turnover/spend)?

The TOMs framework does not look at a traditional social return on investment method, that is, the pound (£) multiplier. Instead, they are based on cost-benefit analysis and fiscal savings to central and local governments. We see an average of 25% social value added across all activities within the Social Value Portal, although this does depend on the type of activity, contract or sector.

What if we are unsure of what we can commit to when making a social value tender submission?

The purpose of target-setting is so that buyers are able to confidently score the differences between their suppliers’ submissions with regards to social value.
You should aim to select what you think is proportionate for the contract, but also what you are able to provide supporting evidence for. Value offered is in addition to the goods, works or services that are being procured, and any commitments made during the tender stage will form part of the contract once awarded.

If there is any doubt as to whether your organisation would be able to deliver this, or provide evidence, then the commitment should not be made.
If you are awarded work and these measures change, our clients usually have remediation where they will work with the supplier to deliver the same pound (£) social value by using different Measures. This approach does vary from client to client.

How can I contribute social value meaningfully in a short timeframe or through a contract of smaller value?

Using Social Value Portal allows organisations to build upon their social value commitments within existing tender. It can also demonstrate monetary value and evidence the impact on local communities. Time is indeed critical, but so is social value, so for shorter contracts you might want to look at quick wins that you can easily deliver within that shorter timeframe. Donations, local school or college talks, local spend, carbon footprint reduction or waste management are just a few examples.

How is a social value response evaluated?

The quantitative measurement is standardised through use of common units of measurement that are included in the social value calculator and for the qualitative measurement, the TOMs framework aims to ensure that all activities delivered and reported through the measure satisfy some minimum qualitative requirements. To do so, they include additional qualitative requirements on what can be reported as social value within the guidance and through requirement of specific evidence. Organisations can, and should specify additional qualitative characteristics to be measured where these are important.

About the Portal

What Portal training do you provide?

Portal members have access to a dedicated Social Value Advisor who will provide training and guidance. For our suppliers, we offer helpful documentation within the Portal including the National TOMs 2021 Framework and the TOMs Measures Handbook 2021. If you aren’t currently using the Social Value Portal, you can register for a free Portal account here.

How do I log in to the Social Value Portal?

To log in you will need to use the unique username you were provided with when you initially registered with Social Value Portal.

Typically, is looks like this: firstname.lastname@socialvalueportal.com.

If you are not currently using the Portal as a supplier or client, you can register with a free Portal account here.

How do I reset my password?

To reset your password you will need the unique username you were given when you initially registered with Social Value Portal.

Typically, it looks like this: firstname.lastname@socialvalueportal.com.

If you have forgotten your username, you can contact our customer support team.

What are the different account types you offer?

There are three main account types we currently offer:

  • Member: this account is a membership with many additional benefits, including access to additional support and features. To find out more about the benefits of membership and how you can join, get in touch.
  • Supplier: this account is dedicated to suppliers who want to register to tender for a specific project. To access this, you will need to be provided with an invitation-only link from the procuring organisation.
  • Portal: this free account is for anyone that has not used the Portal before in either a Member or Supplier capacity. It allows you to try out the National TOMs framework through our online tool, as well as access framework guidance and resources.

Do I have to pay to use the Portal?

If you are bidding for a project, there is no charge to use the Portal to register and make your social value submission.

Once the contract for a project is awarded, there will be an annual fee for contract management support which is communicated within the project’s tender documentation. This fee is based on a percentage of the contract value and is to be paid by the winning bidder only. You are then provided with further access to the Portal where you can manage your social value delivery throughout the project lifecycle.

If you would like to report on your own social value delivery with verified data and reports, you can join as a direct member of Social Value Portal. To find out more about the benefits of membership and how you can join get in touch with us. Please note: Joining as a member of the Social Value Portal does not exclude you from the contract management support fee of an awarded contract for a project.

What can I do with a Portal (free) account?

You can register for a free Portal account to try out the TOMs to measure your social value. The information you provide can be aggregated to support the development and maturity of the framework. Please be aware that you cannot register to tender for a project using a free Portal account.

How do I become a member of Social Value Portal?

To find out more about the benefits of membership and how you can join, get in touch with us.

How do I register for a project?

You will need to follow the link that has been provided by the procuring authority and is included in the ITT documentation. For support, you can get in touch with our customer support team.

How do I register for a free account?

Please register here.

How do I raise an issue I'm having on the Portal?

For support, you can get in touch with our customer support team.

What is the Global Dashboard?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), often referred to as the Global Goals, are the blueprint to achieving a better and more sustainable future for the planet and all the people on it. Sitting behind the Goals are 169 Targets and 232 Indicators.

Social Value Portal conducted a comprehensive mapping exercise to establish direct and indirect links between the Global Goals and the National TOMs and the result of this mapping exercise was our Global Goals Dashboard.
As an additional feature that can be incorporated into your member account on the Portal, you are also able to report on which Global Goals you are contributing to, in both financial and non-financial terms. To enquire about including the SDGs dashboard to your member account please speak to your Social Value Advisor, or contact us.

How does Social Value Portal support bidders?

Social Value Portal can provide additional bid support on large tenders, as well as a range of consultancy services such as strategy development. This helps organisations to understand their approach to delivering social value and what social value means to them. If you’re interested in having a better grasp on social value, and a robust approach to bidding, contact us to find out more about our consultancy support services.