Why Social Value Is Important in Bid Responses


Social Value in Healthcare Bid Responses

Social value has long been a key component of a great, winning healthcare bid. In more recent years, there has been an active push, alongside the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, by the UK government to standardise and boost the prevalence of dedicated social value questions in procurement. Indeed, it’s not unusual for us at HealthBid to now see standalone social value quality responses weighing 10% of the total scoring across the varied healthcare sectors we specialise in.

The core component of social value requirements—to drive social change in local communities—remains unchanged, but what most providers want to know is: how do we best answer social value responses in a way that makes us stand out?


What are Commissioners Looking for?

Pooling together social value questions from specifications across services—from orthodontics to sexual health to GP Out of Hours—it’s clear that what Commissioners want to see are detailed, comprehensive responses with touchpoints across:



These responses are an opportunity to illustrate a provider’s understanding of, experience in, and ambition for delivering social value. But, as we’re reaching a levelling of the playing field where everyone knows how to and is achieving the minimum requirement, the challenge lies in converting actions and achievements into genuinely passionate, good-read stories on the page, with tangible outputs.

For each provider, the nuances in response, with respect to the question’s wording, can come in the form of:

  • Outlining the infrastructure, you have in place to support the delivery of social value
  • How you measure and benchmark your progress against local and national targets
  • How you will work together with other providers to deliver the best local outcomes


Key differentiators in responses will be case studies, examples, and statistics of social value work. These must fit in with the broader story of your bid, threaded across with well-considered win themes that are reflective of the way your organisation connects with the patients, healthcare economy, and community around you.


Social Value, Fair and Square

Within a social value response, providers may also have to provide commitments against specified outcomes, e.g., achievement timeframes, protected time for activities, and financial investments. These outcomes are usually specified by the Commissioner, although they can also match local social value contribution targets. This is often aligned with the National Social Value Themes, Outcomes, Measures (TOMs) Measurement Framework to ensure a consistent standard that doesn’t disadvantage smaller providers.

In a 2019 consultation response, the UK Cabinet Office stated: “The Government does not intend to implement a financial metrics-based approach to the evaluation of social value.”

This is great news for small and medium-sized providers worried about how their social values initiatives stack up against big-name competitors. The qualitative value of your activities and clear links to the service and contract area you’re bidding for are indispensable in ensuring your bid stands out. For the best results, upgrade generic approaches in favour of richly detailed, community-centred examples that evidence the impact your organisation has had at a human level.

Written by Tania Tavares-Pinto, Bid Manager


At HealthBid, we can help bring your story to life and write a distinctive response through our experience and insight. If you want to chat to us about a specific opportunity or have a question about the above, get in touch today at info@healthbid.co.uk or on 0113 479 0803.