Social value: an offer for the success of the public sector and partners

As the British government moves more towards deliver “social value” through sourcingthe chain should modify its approach accordingly, seeking to maximize value for money across the supply chain.

In January, the new government measure of “social value” to pilot everything, from the fight against climate change and improve environmental sustainability Corporate Social Responsibility and “Race Up” have been launched.

These considerations will be increasingly critical for the channel’s future involvement in the public sector – building on the Social Value Act (2012), according to Will Carver, director of alliances and partnerships at the SCC computer company. This law requires departments to consider economic, environmental and social welfare objectives in any procurement process.

“This is a very complicated area that sellers and buyers now have to respond to, in terms of how to proceed,” says Carver. “The government has suddenly created this new measure that everyone has to comply with. If you want to sell to the government, you have to be ready with answers to a very ambiguous question, with ways to rate sellers in a measurable way. “

How to answer the question

According to Tech UK, departments must now seek to prioritize contractors that demonstrate tangible benefits to communities, COVID-19 recovery, supply chain resilience, waste reduction, labor inequality work or environmental sustainability. A minimum weighting of 10% of the total score will be applied for social value.

Now bidders must consider all aspects of delivery – potentially across their entire supply chain as well as planning, designing and deploying strategic solutions or alignment with assorted guidelines, scalable frames and marks of qualification or certifications.

Michael O’Hara, Managing Director of VAD DataSolutions, however, says that creating social value, and climate change in particular, is no longer as ambitious as it was 50 years ago. Attitudes have changed since the most sought-after supplier of goods and services was the one that offered the highest return to shareholders at the lowest cost. Considerations of social value are now essential, whether tenders in the public sector or not, he suggests.

“It’s about the full value of an organization,” he says, “as opposed to when the New York Times in 1970 says the sole purpose of business is to maximize profits. If a business diluted this, it was considered to potentially jeopardize the business and make it less competitive.”

O’Hara credits former Unilever CEO Paul Polman with key to raising awareness of a more complete view of the value of the company. “A decade ago he really pushed the sustainability agenda – and the company has been very successful overall. He said that companies are not there to serve shareholders, they are there to serve society,” he said.

Working together on solutions

O’Hara has since assembled a group of tech-focused companies committed to achieving verifiable sustainability by 2030 – Techies Go Green, whose members have pledged to take eight steps to achieve carbon neutrality.

“It started when we went into lockdown; we loved working from home, getting closer to nature,” he says. “We realized that sustainability is more important than environment, social and governance (ESG); it’s an existential issue for all of us.”

Employees typically already want to work with companies that demonstrate “good social conscience”, he says, taking action on everything from reducing single-use coffee cups and packaging to reducing travel, travel and consumption energy throughout the company.

How do distribution companies drive and monitor change in partner organizations as well, beyond the demand and choice of more environmentally friendly products and services? Much can be done, especially by large partners, through incentives. Microsoft, for example, has suggested cutting offers to customers and partners they see as “bad actors” in the area of ​​sustainability, O’Hara said.

“If you do good, people will see it. The biggest problem is that organizations often don’t know where to start,” says O’Hara. “Measure the carbon footprint, for example, is not an exact science. If you’re going in the right direction over time, that’s what’s important.”

Andy Horn, managing director of managed service provider IntraLAN, echoes O’Hara, but adds that simply improving productivity – for example by supporting home working – can help meet social value demands.

Freeing up resources also brings social value

A channel company can show in its offering how its solutions improve social value within a department by freeing up resources. When staff can invest more in value-generating tasks, instead of struggling with their IT systems or solving other problems, it also delivers social value in ways that technology delivery is uniquely suited for.

“There is clear potential for improving productivity without burning fossil fuels,” Horn notes. An example might be if a family uses national broadband for work, with all the potential technology bottlenecks and cybersecurity issues that entails. Solving these issues by installing professional-grade routing or better laptops can help. deliver social value in the manner demanded by public sector executives.

“These things might not immediately come to mind,” he adds. “It can be making sure your customer experience, your employee experience, is as good as it was when they were working in the office.”

Whether it’s employees, customers or partners, it all starts with these discussions about social responsibility, says Horn; conversations that really are, after all, the main strength of the channel.

Comments are closed.