Our new Social Value Action Planning Tool

Monday, April 5, 2021

Businesses are now able to make use of a free online tool to help them develop their own Social Value Action Plan.

The tool has been developed by the national policing organisation BlueLight Commercial, to help businesses respond to the social value considerations which are increasingly being asked for by police forces and other public sector bodies when awarding contracts.

BlueLight Commercial and others behind the project hope all businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will find the tool useful.

Ruth McDermott, a Regional Commercial Director at BlueLight Commercial, explained: “Primarily we have developed this tool for all contracted suppliers and all potential suppliers to police forces. However, this is not just about helping businesses get to a position where they can win contracts with policing.

“It is about helping businesses demonstrate their contribution to the economy, society, and the environment, as part of their day-to-day business practice.

“This is a free tool which any business can use. It only takes about 45 minutes to develop a Social Value Action Plan and then, based on how your business is doing, the tool will point you to other resources and suggest ways you can make your business better demonstrate social value.”

She added: “Police forces across the country will be able to use the data from the platform to understand and evidence that their suppliers are taking sustainability and social value into account. We’ll be able to identify what excellent practice on social value really looks like, and support any suppliers struggling to make progress.

“So there are benefits to policing, and suppliers get access to a tool which will help them understand their supply chains and their economic, social and environmental impact better – for free. We’ll even be offering free workshops on how to use the tool. It’s a win-win.”

Already there are around 500 businesses making use of the tool, which is hosted by NETpositive Futures - who are themselves an SME.

One of those already using the tool is Taylor Law, a law firm based in Middlesbrough.

Scott Taylor, Director at Taylor Law said: “We have been considering reviewing our social value and sustainability impact for a while. This tool made it easy for us to not only understand the impacts and opportunities associated with our business practices but also identify activities which we would not have recognised as a social value contribution. The tool was easy to use, and we now have an action plan which we will build upon over the coming months.”

BlueLight Commercial’s Chief Executive Lianne Deeming added: “BlueLight Commercial was created last year to help police forces and other emergency services get the best value for money for the taxpayer. Within policing we want to encourage more diverse supply chains, including SMEs and Voluntary, Community, and Social Enterprises (VCSEs)

“By considering social value when we are procuring goods and services, policing is saying ‘yes, cost is important, but it matters how goods and services are made and delivered too’. All procurement activity within policing should be conducted in a sustainable and ethical manner – taking account of impact on the environment and communities, as well as workers’ rights and wellbeing. Forces will always treat people in their organisations and supply chains fairly, and this tool helps them evidence that consistently across the country.”

“We encourage you to register, develop an action plan and showcase how your business is making a difference.”

Find out more about the tool here.

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