Maximising social impact of IT: key considerations of Procurement Act

The new UK Procurement Act 2023, set for full enforcement in October 2024, marks a significant shift in public sector procurement by amplifying the importance of social impact.

Maximising social impact of IT: key considerations of Procurement Act


This Act mandates a minimum 10% weighting for social value in procurement decisions and transitions from "Most Economically Advantageous Tender" (MEAT) to "Most Advantageous Tender" (MAT), promoting a broader evaluation of bids that includes social and environmental benefits.

For IT vendors, this means adapting proposals to emphasise social impact, engaging early with contracting authorities, and demonstrating clear, measurable outcomes. Here's how to navigate these changes and enhance your chances of securing government contracts.

Increased Weighting for Social Impact:

  1. Minimum Weighting: The legislation stipulates a mandatory 10% weighting for social value in procurement decisions, with the potential for this percentage to be raised at the contracting authority's discretion. This signifies a heightened significance of social value considerations in bid evaluation compared to previous standards​.

  2. Broader Definition of Value: The shift from "Most Economically Advantageous Tender" (MEAT) to "Most Advantageous Tender" (MAT) allows for a broader evaluation of bids, including non-financial benefits such as social and environmental impacts. This approach encourages vendors to integrate social value into their proposals more comprehensively​​.

  3. Transparency and Accountability: The Act introduces increased transparency requirements, obliging contracting authorities to publish detailed information about procurement processes and contract awards. This includes clear documentation of how social value has been factored into decision-making, which will hold vendors accountable for their social value commitments throughout the contract lifecycle​.

Considerations for IT Vendors:

  1. Understand Social Value Priorities: Vendors should acquaint themselves with the precise social value objectives of the contracting authority, which may be detailed in social value strategies or declarations. These objectives could encompass aspects like workforce development, skill enhancement, community involvement, or ecological sustainability​.

  2. Demonstrate Social Impact: IT vendors need to clearly articulate how their solutions contribute to social value. This might involve showcasing how their technology supports job creation, promotes digital inclusion, or reduces environmental impact. Providing concrete examples and measurable outcomes will strengthen proposals​.

  3. Engage Early: Engaging in market outreach initiatives, like attending "meet the buyer" events, offers valuable insights into the social impact priorities of contracting authorities. Early involvement enables vendors to tailor their proposals effectively to align with these requirements.

  4. Set Clear KPIs and Reporting Mechanisms: Vendors must be ready to incorporate key performance indicators (KPIs) related to social value into their contracts and create strong systems for monitoring and reporting on these KPIs throughout the duration of the contract. This not only ensures continuous accountability but also showcases a steadfast dedication to delivering the pledged social advantages.

  5. Leverage Technology for Transparency: Harnessing digital solutions to boost transparency and oversee social value commitments can prove advantageous. This entails implementing mechanisms for gathering, analysing, and presenting data that adhere to the transparency standards set forth in the updated procurement guidelines​.

By aligning proposals with the enhanced focus on social impact and demonstrating a clear commitment to delivering social value, IT vendors can improve their chances of securing government contracts under the new Procurement Act.

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