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“Quality not quantity”; Procurement Briefing on publication of PPN 06/20 on Social Value

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By Alistair Robertson, Victoria Fletcher and Mary Mundy


Published 02 October 2020


The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has recently published its new Procurement Policy Note 'PPN 06/20' which provides a new model for the delivery of social value in public procurement for Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies ('In-Scope Organisations').

In Scope Organisations (as well as the rest of the public sector) are under an existing obligation to 'consider' how wider social, economic and environmental benefits can be secured in procurement processes for services (under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012). However, following recent consultation, the new model has been designed to ensure a more standardised approach is taken in evaluating social value in the award processes for central government contracts.

What's new?

  • 'Explicit evaluation' - In-Scope Organisations are now under an obligation to 'explicitly evaluate' social value where the requirements are related and proportionate to the subject matter of the contract. Annex A to the PPN sets out a list of priority themes and outcomes which contracting authorities should find useful. The key themes are: COVID-19 recovery, tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change, equal opportunity and wellbeing.

  • Qualitative not quantitative assessment - In-Scope Organisations are to evaluate the social value aspect of bids qualitatively, i.e. appraise what suppliers will deliver and how they will deliver it, not solely focusing on the quantity of their offering.
  • Minimum weighting - a minimum weighting of 10% of the total score for social value is to be applied in a procurement to ensure that it can be a differentiating factor in a bid evaluation. If justified, a higher weighting can also be applied.

What next?

The new model is mandatory for In-Scope Organisations and must be used for all new procurements from 1 January 2021. Commercial teams are also invited to select objectives which are relevant and proportionate to their procurement. This will mean that each procurement will require a bespoke set of questions/themes on social value as to be compliant with the obligations under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, they need to be relative to the subject matter of the relevant contract. 

Further detailed guidance notes on the application of each outcome is to be published on GOV.UK shortly, ahead of the January 2021 deadline.

For further information or to discuss evaluating social value within a procurement process, please contact a member of our procurement team.