Of course, this has been a year unlike any other: a year where many have lost loved ones, jobs, and social connections: 2020 has been difficult. There are indications that 2021 might be better: the news of a safe and effective COVID vaccine as well as an economy that looks more robust than we had feared means that a return to normalcy looks like an achievable goal. 

Despite it all, social value has had something of a bumper year. During the last twelve months, we have gained more and more serious proof that our industry is maturing. No longer is social value simply something to be “considered” – we are now operating in a world that makes assessing the social value of a procurement one of its central pillars. And, it isn’t just the government’s Procurement Policy Note that has the sector excited. The Construction Playbook’s release this month, coupled with the work at the Construction Innovation Hub on Procuring for Value mean that the signs point very firmly to social value taking centre stage.

PPN 06/20 – Roadmap to Recovery

This year’s Procurement Policy Note 06/20 – taking account of social value in the award of central government contracts is doubtlessly the biggest transformation this year for our sector. The document, which comes into effect on 1st January 2021, will formalise the requirement for central government bodies to award contracts by weighting 10% of a tender to social value. Though the document only makes this a requirement for central bodies, the evidence we are seeing makes it clear that local authorities are set to follow suit, as are private bodies. Aside from formalising the role of social value in the procurement process, PPN 06/20 also sets out a new reporting framework for social value. This framework focuses on delivering targeted social value against all procured contracts. The five pillars that make up the framework are: Covid-19 recovery, tackling economic inequality, fighting climate change, equal opportunity and wellbeing. After the year we have all had, these priorities come as no surprise. Although delivering these will be a challenge for bidders everywhere, the new framework should go a long way towards ensuring that next year’s projects focus on delivering the social value that will make the most impact.

Construction Innovation Hub – Procuring for Value

Taking up that question of delivering maximum impact, the work that the Construction Innovation Hub (CIH) have been undertaking for their Procuring for Value strategy echoes many of the themes reflected in PPN 06/20. The work at CIH is all about maximising value in the broadest sense. We at Social Profit Calculator have been proud to be part of the team that is working with Social Value UK to map out a detailed, sophisticated understanding of what social capital will look like in the coming years, and the groups working towards similar definitions and best practices for human, produced and natural capital. This is a move towards a greater understanding of the whole life value of procurements and is another welcome advancement for the industry. We expect the new four capitals model to quickly begin gaining traction in the new year. 

Construction Playbook

The anticipated release of the Construction Playbook has been welcomed this month across the board. The Playbook focusses on many of the themes being driven by the Construction Innovation Hub, and perhaps particularly in their shared ambition to deliver value-driven procurement. Gone are the days where cost, quality and speed would be the only considerations for decision makers. What the Playbook, and Procuring for Value, both emphasise is that as we move into 2021 and beyond, “value” is more than a question of cost. The Playbook is clear:

            “When considering ‘outlay’ the key factor is whole life cost, not lowest purchase price.” 

Here again we see the emerging theme of whole life cost and whole life value. This means that understanding the basics: cost, quality and time, will need to go hand in hand with an understanding of social value, economic and environmental impacts and whole life operational costs. The Playbook insists that, moving forwards, we will see a consistent approach running through policy intent, project selection, approval, initiation and into procurement, evaluation criteria, contracts, delivery and operations. This, together with the increased focus on social value through PPN 06/20 means that understanding what we mean when we say “value” will be the all-important question in 2021. 

The Year That Was

For a year that has left a nation grappling with the question of how substantial a scotch egg is and Googling the whereabouts of Barnard Castle, it has been a welcome relief for us at Social Profit Calculator to have been hard at work in a sector that has gone from strength to strength. We are looking forward to a truly valuable new year. 

Software Developer (.Net)

Full time permanent contract

Salary 25-30K dependent on experience

Location: Remote (preference for candidate with easy access to Manchester or Hull, but all locations considered. For Hull-based candidates, we have offices to which you would have access to including their in-house pool table and bar!)

Hours: 8-4 preferred (flexible arrangements available)

Purpose of the Role

We are growing our development team. We have an ambitious development roadmap for the next 12 months and we are looking for a self-motivated developer with experience working in an agile team to help us to deliver for our clients. We are looking for support in developing our TDD processes as well as someone who takes pride in their excellent, clean and readable code. 

Requirements

  • C# ASP.NET MVC In-depth understanding of C# with .NET Core and .NET framework experience
  • JavaScript Front end development experience using a JavaScript framework (Angular, React or Vue etc.)
  • OOP In-depth understanding of object-oriented programming and SOLID principles
  • Refactoring Must be confident in refactoring out-dated code with modern best practices
  • API Development Experience in developing and consuming APIs
  • Testing Experience writing automated tests
  • SQL Experience working with SQL 
  • Git Comfortable using Git

Desirable Skills

  • AWS
  • CI/CD pipelines
  • Experience of working in an Agile team

Person Specification

  • A degree in Computer Science or a similar discipline, and 2+ years of commercial experience. In lieu of a CS degree, proven industry experience would be equally good.
  • Experience working with or knowledge of the Scrum Framework.

Familiarity in some of the following areas: 

  • The basics of web development – HTML, CSS • Modern front-end JS technologies – Ember.js, or Vue.js would be a bonus! 
  • Server side languages – including PHP (Laravel), C# (.NET)
  • Database Technologies – including SQL Server, MySQL 
  • Knowledge of continuous integration tools would be perfect.

Why join SPC?

  • 23 days holiday + bank holidays + your birthday off!
  • Competitive salary and performance-related bonus
  • A Company supported pension
  • Family-friendly employer – SPC is the home of many parents who benefit from flexibility around their childcare responsibilities
  • Fully-remote team with staff across the world
  • Training opportunities to support your career development.

About Our Tech

We are a young team still working out what works for us. We currently have technology in PHP, .Net Framework and .Net Core. We present our work with HTML5, CSS and JS and our databases are in MSSQL. We rely on Jira to keep our workflow straight, Sonorcloud, and Resharper to keep us on our toes. 

About Social Profit Calculator

Social Profit Calculator (SPC) is a consultancy and software company specialising in the measurement, monitoring and calculation of social, economic and environmental impact. Our Social Value Calculator is accredited by Social Value UK and Social Value International to provide robust and credible calculations of Social Value across all project stages, from planning to operation, asset value, fund management and end-user experience.

At SPC, we use our practical knowledge, experience and expertise to provide clients across all sectors with innovative, forward-thinking and deliverable social value policies and strategies. We work with businesses of all sizes to offer a comprehensive range of tender services: including procurement support, social value offers, HM Treasury Business Case appraisal support and bid writing. We have a diverse client base across a range of sectors including construction, retail, finance, professional services, public sector and third sector organisations. Our target market is mostly in the construction and infrastructure sectors, although we work broadly too.

Social Value is a growth area, and we are a growing business. This means building a dynamic, inspiring culture where we celebrate diverse, bold thinking. We are curious, creative and open to new ideas and ways of working, and it takes the skills of a collaborative team to deliver on what we can do.

We recently took the decision to become a fully remote team and have successfully transitioned to working together online full time. We have ambitions, however, to meet in person (Covid-permitting) from time to time and hence would prefer a candidate with convenient access to either Manchester (where most of our team are based) or Hull, where our sister company, Pagabo, have excellent meeting facilities.


Application Process

Please provide a CV, covering letter and your Github to Sarah@staging.socialprofitcalculator.co.uk.

We expect to conduct the recruitment process completely online during December.

Applications close 5th January 2020 23:59.


New year, new rules

From 1st January 2021, the government is introducing a new public procurement model that takes greater account of the additional social value created by contractors who are bidding for work.

Businesses that are seeking to procure government work must set out how they intend to deliver on the government’s social value priorities.

Currently, social value is only required to be ‘considered’ in central government procurement. However, with the new measures coming into place at the start of the new year, social value should now be ‘explicitly evaluated’ where the requirements are related and proportionate to the subject-matter of the contract. 

The social value model on which departments will assess contracts includes:

  • Supporting Covid-19 recovery, including helping local communities manage and recover from the impact of Covid
  • Tackling economic inequality, including creating new businesses, jobs and skills, as well as increasing supply chain resilience
  • Fighting climate change and reducing waste
  • Driving equal opportunity, including reducing the disability employment gap and tackling workforce inequality and promoting community integration.

Sarah Coughlan, Chief Operating Officer here at SPC says that this new policy is an ‘opportunity for local businesses and communities as well as governments to take seriously and do good in communities, especially locally.’ 

Social value is proving to be an ever-increasing part of corporate social responsibility within the procurement process. Eight years on, we see the evidence of the growing importance of social value, now accounting for around 20% of bid and tender evaluations. 

The new model states that a ‘minimum weighting of 10% of the total score for social value should be applied in the procurement to ensure that it carries a heavy enough score to be a differentiating factor in bid evaluation’. All bidders will be tested, and bidders must demonstrate the full extent of the social value they will generate.

Whilst the new policy does not make it compulsory for local clients and businesses it does, however, emphasise the importance of social value-driven projects and calls for local clients to start getting serious about delivering real social value in partnership with communities to “build back better’. 

Sarah Coughlan believes this is a big move forward in embedding social value in procurement on central government contracts. She commented, ‘we await the detailed guidance, but look forward to seeing central government move towards standard award criteria, delivery objectives that describe ‘what good looks like’, and metrics for contract management and reporting. 

Renewed focus

This new government model inspires people to adopt a renewed focus on ‘what good looks like’ in the policy note. The new model has a focus on COVID-19 recovery improving work conditions and helping those unemployed due to the pandemic which in turn increases social value generated.

Social value is often met with the suspicion that the numbers aren’t completely reliable as it is oftentimes unclear how the figures are calculated. This new policy, however, signals a real opportunity to develop better-defined data, therefore creating a clearer understanding of the social value delivered and its statistics. There are now also more widely accepted benchmarks endorsed with historical data, forging an opportunity to build more trust among clients and contractors alike. Something we have seen repeatedly from our clients is a sincere desire to “positively disturb” the way that pounds-and-pence figures are applied to the social value of a project.

Construction Leadership Council’s Procuring for Value Toolkit provides helpful insight on how government, clients and the industry can maximise impact with a change in approach to procurement. Procuring for Value is a key theme of the sector deal and attempts to provide guidance, information and contact details as a support to suppliers when considering their ‘offer’ and delivery of social value. These are some helpful anchor points as the industry adapts and adopts new ways of working, which are all important steps towards improvement.

Enhancing community resilience

The policy note also stresses that clients will be free to target their social value requirements to the communities they reflect. In order to make the most of this, clients and constructors alike will need to renew their focus on engaging with local communities to deeply understand their real, rather than perceived needs, which will allow them to recover from COVID-19 together. 

Without this engagement, the risk is that social value is reduced to just a box-ticking exercise and not a factor that will actually help create a strong sense of social purpose with the potential to enhance community resilience. 

Targeted social value programmes should become the new industry standard in order to grow social value and truly make an impact to unite and level up the country while keeping local communities and businesses firmly at the heart of the recovery. Along these lines, social value will become a vital priority on the back of which we will hopefully see the creation of a whole new social contract.