The Commissioning & Procurement Process

Strategy - Triggers - Delivery



The Sustainable Supply Chains Commissioning and Procurement Delivery Model, like all our guides is generic and can be used by Organisations large and small, public, private or third sector and will enable the reader to bridge the gap between understanding what Social Value means to your Organisation and delivering and embedding Social Value through your Commissioning and Procurement processes.

The framework will provide you with a process to take you through the key steps and stages in defining, enabling and delivering Social Value

Stage 1 –Strategy & Prioritisation

These act as the starting point and provide the strategic context and direction needed to ensure a consistent and aligned approach

Stage 2 – Triggers & Enablers

These are practices, tools, techniques and ways of working that are essential when ensuring social value is successfully embedded within your organisation.

Stage 3 – Delivery

Embedding social value is both good practice and good procurement, as social and sustainable considerations should be fully integrated into existing processes and documents

This framework gives you a platform to help deliver and embed Social Value into your Organisation, but to measure how well you are currently performing and what actions you will need to take to move up to the next level then why not try our Social Value Diagnostic Tool



 Stage 1 –Strategy

The first step is to understand what Social Value means to your Organisation and what your business priorities are. Ideally your social value and business priorities will be aligned.

Once your prioritisation is defined your social value strategy and/or policy can be developed to guide decision making by clearly highlighting what social value means to your organisation and what your intentions and targets are.


Social Value will mean different things to different people from the very tangible, such as jobs for the long-term unemployed, or sub-contracting opportunities for small businesses, to softer, but equally important, benefits such as engagement with communities or groups of individuals who might otherwise feel entirely disengaged.

Social Value is about Social, Economic and Environmental wellbeing and as such can include anything from creating jobs to creating green spaces, the table below gives some of the many examples of what Social Value could mean.


Once you have agreed your organisational priorities you then need to set some measurable targets and report on your progress against those targets. Those targets can measure your performance as a department or the performance of your supply chain for example

  • Departmental Targets – (1) Number of supply chain staff trained in social value or (2) Number of contracts with social value criteria built into evaluation

  • Supply Chain Targets – (1) Number of Apprenticeships or Jobs created or (2) Number of Local Businesses or SMEs in Supply Chain



Stage 2 –Triggers

The triggers are the enablers for you to actually make this happen, they include the skills, process, practices, tools, techniques and ways of working that are essential when ensuring social value is successfully embedded within your organisation.

  1. Leaders – there needs to be active and visible leadership to embed social value into your organisation.

Leaders will be at

  • Senior Management Level – figure head to drive the social value agenda

  • Operational Level – champions responsible for making it happen.

2. Controls – you will need to have the correct governance, systems and accountability in place to ensure social value is taken seriously within your Organisation and there is an auditable process in place.

  • Governance – reporting lines and systems to monitor and record what is going on and take steps to ensure compliance.

  • Systems – an electronic platform to capture performance and measure against targets and expectations.

  • Accountability – a person responsible for ensuring the social value outcomes are monitored and delivered.

3. Staff – staff who are responsible for commissioning, procuring or delivering social value need to be able to articulate the reasons for embedding social value and their role in the process.

Staff will also need to be

  • Competent (with the correct level of knowledge and experience)

  • Committed and empowered to deliver the social value agenda.

4. Mapping – as with any process we can’t do everything at once so it is important to prioritise what we do first.

This process will be driven by

  • The biggest spend areas or spend categories as that is where we will have most influence.

  • The biggest risk areas as that is where the Organisation may be at risk if a supply line is not guaranteed.

5. Consultation – success or failure in delivering Social Value may well hinge on the engagement and communication you have had with your stakeholders to shape the social value requirement from the particular commissioning exercise or project. Consultation can be in the shape of

  • market engagement where we get a better understanding of what the supply market can deliver

  • internal stakeholder engagement where we get a better understanding of what the client requires



Stage 3 – Delivery

The delivery section looks at embedding social value into every stage of your commissioning and procurement processes and highlights the key things to do throughout the process.

There is no one size fits all approach to delivering social value as the outcomes are wide ranging and cover many diverse work streams, so to apply social value to every tender and contract a portfolio of delivery tools has been developed to allow social value to be applied on a case by case basis and in a proportionate manner subject to the value and nature of the contract.

The biggest opportunity we have to influence the commissioning and procurement exercise comes at the very start when we are establishing the specification but we have opportunity to build it further through the procurement process by asking for specific details such as capability at PQQ and defining outcomes at ITT then agreeing targets and measures for those outcomes at the contract stage. 

 Define the business need

This is about needs not wants. What are the Social and Sustainable performance priorities and outputs and do they align

Establish if (a) there is a valid need for the project, goods, works or service (b) have we looked to reduce, reuse and recycle where possible and (c) have we considered how the project, goods, works or service can be delivered to maximise social output.

Sourcing Strategy

Is Social Value considered at all stages of our commissioning and category management and procurement process and have we engaged with our stakeholders and the market to understand and evaluate what is available and possible and are there any innovative ways to deliver the project, goods, works or service that maximise social output. Be sure to select the best route to market that best meets the business need.


Use the specification to build social value into the brief, remember output based specifications will encourage innovative solutions from the market.

Go to Market

Advertise widely to encourage a diverse response from the market (including SME’s and Third Sector). Consider advertising well ahead of the procurement process beginning to give bidders time to innovate and prepare a worthwhile submission.

Invite Suppliers – Be sure to invite the key suppliers in the market

PQQ – The PQQ focuses on examples and experience and acts as a pre-qualification of bidders and eliminates those who fail to meet the required minimum qualification criteria.

  • ITT – The ITT is an invitation sent to a shortlist of bidders (selected via the PQQ) to make a formal and detailed offer to supply the services, works or goods required. The ITT should include; specification, contract terms, pricing matrix, evaluation criteria and weighting.

Evaluate & Award

Ensure that social value is properly evaluated in line with the published criteria and given the correct level of consideration within the tender assessment process

Negotiate and agree on contract terms (financial and social) prior to award. Finalise contract, measurement tools and performance incentives and penalties and ensure they are documented and agreed

Manage Performance and Relationships

Manage the performance of the supplier over the life of the contract building in incentives to improve performance and corrective action measures should performance dip. Look to build good relationships with the supplier and use their expertise to improve your competitive edge   (look at joint initiatives/opportunities if appropriate – WIN WIN)

Review & Learn

Ensure social value objectives are critically reviewed throughout the process and be aware that the impacts may evolve during the contract term so take the opportunity to learn from this and share experiences it will improve how you do things next time around. Have regular review meetings throughout the contract term with stakeholders and suppliers