IEMA Calls on Government to Set Out Simple and Action Oriented Policy Metrics in Support of Social Value in Procurement

IEMA responds to the Consultation on Social Value in Government Procurement

Posted on Jun 14, 2019

IEMA welcomes the focus of this government consultation on incorporating social value outcomes into the government’s procurement process. Following extensive member engagement led by IEMA Policy Lead Marc Jourdan, IEMA has submitted its response commenting on key aspects of the government’s proposed policy metrics.

The initial consultation document and its policy metrics (set out in Annex A) are available to view here - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/social-value-in-government-procurement

Some common perspectives were teased out during the member engagement which helped to set out IEMA’s key points on the proposed policy metrics including:

  • A need for a broader focus on social value: IEMA calls on the government to ensure that its policy metrics are simple and action oriented, supporting upskilling of professionals, while incorporating issues that lay at the heart of the three dimensions of sustainability such as responsible sourcing, responsible design and ethical business practices;
  • Application to devolved administrations: IEMA found that further information should be provided to explain how the model will be applied on a UK-wide basis;
  • Commenting on the ‘Safe and Secure Supply Chains’ policy metric: IEMA stressed that the policy outcome which seeks to ensure that “Modern slavery risks are reduced” should include as metrics the key issues that make a stronger modern slavery statement, including for example the fact that organisation should implement due diligence processes in relation to slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains;
  • Commenting on the ‘Environmental Sustainability in support of the 25 Year Environmental Plan’ metric: IEMA called for it to refer to specific environmental commitments that are more readily understandable within industry by procurers and suppliers (e.g. encourage purchasing decisions that support the effective management of resources through the increased use sustainable materials);
  • Additional metric on Health & Safety: Given the transverse aspects to health and safety, IEMA underscored the need to ensure the key principles of the UK's health and safety law (under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HASAWA)) are set out in the government’s policy metrics for achieving social value in public procurement;

As for at the government’s proposed minimum 10% weighting for evaluating social value in the bid, IEMA advocated the need to propose a higher weighting for metrics where greater social value can be obtained. It stressed that this should be accompanied by guidance as to what weight should be attributed to each metric in terms of achieving social value outcomes (i.e. Does providing evidence of strong compliance under one metric implicitly achieve x% of compliance under another metric).

Looking at the potential barriers that could be created by proposed approach for particular sizes or types of bidders, IEMA found that SME or VCSEs may not have the necessary funding and other resources to implement management systems that are sufficiently robust to ensure the full scope of social value outcomes are captured throughout their supply chain. IEMA therefore encouraged government to align its Annex A requirements with recognised reporting frameworks. In doing so, this would support a unified approach to the information required to be reported by smaller organisations, and in turn provide more flexibility in delivering social value outcomes.

Advising the government on its internal capacity to support sustainable procurement, IEMA strongly encouraged the government to adopt ISO 20400. It found that this could aid in adopting a standard approach to procurement across all government departments and functions and provide a strategic framework for an organisation to procure sustainably.

Finally, emphasising the value of skills, IEMA advocated the need to support the training and upskilling of professionals with procurement responsibilities, in order to provide capacity building in ‘Sustainability’ so that sustainable procurement could integrate social value.

The full version of the IEMA response is available HERE

Should you wish to participate in further engagement activities around the topic of social value then please contact Marc Jourdan on m.jourdan@iema.net.


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