Social value and the tender process now go hand in hand. Businesses seeking to win public sector contracts must set out how they intend to deliver on social value (Public Services Social Value Act 2012). 

For the construction industry, the act mandates that all major new procurement contracts with central government departments must demonstrate how they will deliver social, economic and environmental benefits.  

At its core the Social Value Act is there to encourage industry to ‘do the right thing’. It asks industry to go beyond constructing buildings and bridges, roads and railways. It encourages construction companies to deliver a range of benefits that will leave positive, sustainable and even transformative legacy benefits in the communities in which they operate 

In September 2020, Government went a step further and implemented a new model to ensure a systematic and consistent approach to social value in procurement contracts to support and help communities to recover from the impact of COVID-19. This renewed focused on social value means that the process for defining social value is now standardised to focus efforts and maximise the benefits to local communities.  

In our Construction Insights report published this week, our interviews, discussions and polling with industry highlighted a full range of primary obligations for the industry, one of the biggest being social value delivery. In our research it was evident that the industry is taking positive steps to deliver on social value, but there still remain significant costs pressures and a host of competing obligations that make it harder to deliver social value.  

Whilst social value should signify a departure away from lowest price bidding, our research still highlighted that cost is ultimately the deciding factor in the tender process.    

Social value comes in different forms; ranging from apprenticeships and training, to volunteering in local communities, delivering school engagement projects, and much more. The best social value schemes are tailored from project to project and from community to community.  

Communities have knowledge, skills and willpower that can support the success of projects and delivering on social value helps communities benefit from the impacts of projects which builds trust and support Social value simply makes good business sensePutting social value at the heart of business does not have to impact the bottom line, it can deliver growth and has the power to create more supportive and connected communitiesDespite of the cost pressures on the industry, our insight report shows that the construction industry is committed to embedding social value in their projects.


Diana Deans, Senior Account Manager

For more insights and guidance more advice and guidance on tackling social value in construction projects contact