The Construction Playbook sets out how the public sector can get projects and programmes right from the start, building social value into the foundations of our procurement processes

The Construction Playbook sets out how the public sector can build social value into the foundations of our procurement processes.

The Build Back Better plan – published at a crucial period during our response to the pandemic – sets out the Government’s aspirations for growing our economy in a way that levels up all areas of the country. 

In doing so it highlights the need for high quality infrastructure, skills investment and innovation. 

With the Government planning £100 billion of capital investment during 2021/22, there has never been such a strong focus on how we can add community social value into our infrastructure projects – themselves major drivers of local growth.

The Construction Playbook sets out how the public sector can get projects and programmes right from the start, building social value into the foundations of our procurement processes.

Download our step-by-step guide to the Construction Playbook

The Construction Playbook and social value

The Construction Playbook states that central government tenders must include a minimum of 10% of their evaluation criteria dedicated to social value. The priority themes and outcomes are set out in 2020’s Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/20 – Taking Account of Social Value in the Award of Central Government Contracts.

The opportunities are endless: organisations may be looking at providing apprenticeships and local skills training, supporting disadvantaged groups in your community, or boosting local sustainability, to help you to get closer to your carbon net zero targets.

All central government departments and their arm’s length bodies are expected to follow the Construction Playbook’s recommendations on a ‘comply or explain’ basis – if necessary, explaining why their unique circumstances mean they go their own way.

How to build social value into your construction procurement

Whether you are a central government department, arm’s length body, or working in local government, health, education, housing, charities, or the blue light sector, you will need to consider how your project will make the most of the opportunities presented by the Playbook. 

That could mean engaging with local community groups like social enterprises to understand how to tailor your project to achieve particular social outcomes.

It will also mean considering how every part of your supply chain is pulling in the same direction to deliver on social value – considering sub-alliancing, and sharing accountability out to encourage partnership working. 

Each stage of the procurement process will present you with opportunities. 

Look at the guidance you provide for your project managers: does it reflect the priority level you’re giving social value? Make sure your social value is embedded into the requirements for your full professional services team, so that they are all working to shared social value goals. 

When assessing bids, think about the language the prospective supplier is using, and if it demonstrates that they understand your priorities. 

And don’t forget to make sure your chosen supplier or suppliers are contractually obliged to deliver the outcomes you want – then monitor their performance.

Help and support

There is incredibly useful guidance around model questions, how to evaluate them and how to then enforce and manage your contracts provided in the annexes to the Playbook.

You can also seek advice from your framework provider. At Crown Commercial Service, our Construction category team works hard to understand social value requirements from the earliest stages of the process, and our frameworks allow customers to embed it in the way most appropriate to their own circumstances. 

Drawing a ‘golden thread’ through your work on the built environment has never been easier – with modular buildings, refurbishment, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and low carbon building materials all factors to consider. 

You can also use social value calculators such as TOMS, or the PPN 06/20 reporting metrics. Our Social Value and Modern Slavery alliance group lays the foundations for customer and supplier collaboration and shared learning from industry leaders.

Find out more

To find out how to access Construction services through CCS, visit our webpage or fill in our contact form

This article was originally published in Public Sector Executive.