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National TOMs in higher education

Universities and procurers across the UK are taking steps to do more good. Whether a Vice Chancellor or an undergraduate, the impact that higher education institutions make on their communities is important to everyone.

A group of people set around table with laptop, three people are looking at the same laptop and laughing.

Understanding social value

Social value is about doing more good. We all recognise that the decisions we make, as individuals or institutions, make their mark on our communities, and we call this effect social value.

We have created a system that measures social value. It’s underpinned by the tried-and-tested National TOMs – Themes, Outcomes, and Measures – framework, which includes a comprehensive list of core measures relevant to all businesses. Then, working with experts and industry leaders through the National Social Value Taskforce, we added additional criteria tailored to meet the specific needs of higher education institutions.

Three women smiling, there is an orange tint on the image.
Three women smiling, there is an orange tint on the image.

How it's tailored to higher education

We collaborated with a number of universities and procurement consortia in the higher education sector through the UK Universities Purchasing Consortia. Having seen the effect of adopting the National TOMs in procurement elsewhere, particularly in the local authority sector, we supported a taskforce, who sought to see how this approach could be adapted for the higher education sector.

Using the National TOMs framework, social value can be tracked and measured consistently and reported transparently to stakeholders, proving the good you do.

Supporting communities around higher education institutions


Promote growth and development opportunities for all within a community. Use the National TOMs to ensure people develop new skills and gain meaningful employment.


Provide local businesses with the skills to compete and the opportunity to supply you with goods and services.


Create healthier, safer student communities. The National TOMs is your springboard for stronger and deeper relationships with the voluntary and social enterprise sectors whilst continuing to engage and empower citizens.


Make sure places where people live and study are cleaner and greener. You can promote sustainable procurement and secure the long-term future of our planet.


Uncover new ideas and solutions to problems you face, and create more social value in the process.

Stay flexible

Stay flexible

There are many different ways to measure social value. Your organisation can select the measures that suit your institutional goals and priorities.

Data you can trust

We’ve a well established methodology, backed up by hard metrics. This means you can account for, and measure, each choice and its ultimate impact. We’ve tailored the National TOMs to the higher education sector, so that you can be confident that the metrics and measures you’re using can be trusted.

university of manchester building
university of manchester building

Download our guidance

Want to know more about the Higher Education TOMs? We’ve put together a comprehensive document telling you all you need to know.

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UK Universities Purchasing Consortia

UKUPC is a partnership between eight UK consortia who created a formal entity to support collaborative procurement within Higher and Further Education. All eight consortia work together to share knowledge and best practice, to support each other and our wider procurement community.


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Guy Battle speaks at NWUPC procurement event

Guy Battle speaks at the North Western Universities Purchasing focused on how the government’s social value policies can be applied to the higher education sector and how they can deliver more value for all of their stakeholders.

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University of Manchester's procurement

Read how the University of Manchester maximises its social value by helping to organise its spending practices and procurement processes in a more sustainable and creative way.

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