Social value at heart of £158million of government tenders issued – Murphy

Date published: 22 September 2022

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has said the new Social Value procurement policy is making a positive difference to people and the environment.

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy along with Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey pictured at Inch Abbey in Downpatrick with Bronagh Vallely, Commercial Director from idverde and Darren McGrath, Director of McGrath Contracts Ltd

The new policy came into effect on 1st June 2022. It requires that social value makes up at least 10% of the award criteria alongside price and quality. It also mandates that staff working on government contracts are paid at least the Living Wage as set by the Living Wage Foundation. Up to £158million worth of government tenders have been published which include social value as part of the scoring criteria. All government tenders issued since then have included payment of the Living Wage as a condition of contract.

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy along with Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey visited Inch Abbey in Downpatrick where they met idverde and McGrath Contracts Ltd who have recently been awarded the grounds maintenance contract for state care monuments.

Speaking following the visit, Minister Murphy said: “Since the start of June, up to £158million worth of government tenders have been published which include social value in the award criteria alongside price and quality. This helps ensure that government is harnessing its spending power to deliver economic, environmental and wider societal benefits.”

“The Social Value policy represents a step change in how we do procurement. I am delighted to see how the private sector has embraced this and how the extensive training programme we put in place has equipped industry to deliver this new approach.”

Commenting on the importance of paying the Living Wage, Minister Murphy added: “As an accredited Living Wage employer the Civil Service is committed to paying civil servants and our agency staff at least the Living Wage. Earlier this month, agreement was reached with contractors to ensure that more than 500 staff providing security and ancillary services will benefit from payment of at least the Living Wage.

 “The new Social Value policy also requires companies bidding for government contracts to pay staff working on that contract the Living Wage. In this cost of living crisis it is important that workers are paid the Living Wage. Already we can see the positive impact this policy is having on tackling low pay.”

Highlighting how the grounds maintenance contract worth up to £500,000 at 89 state care monuments will help deliver social value, Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey added: “This contract will ensure our historic monuments are maintained to the highest possible standard supporting heritage and tourism while also delivering real meaningful environmental, social and economic benefits. 

“I am pleased that my Department has been able to work with colleagues in Department of Finance to award the first contact containing social value clauses. The grounds maintenance contract aims to promote environmental benefits, influence environmental protection and improvement, and work towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

“This contract demonstrates how embedding social value within the public procurement criteria can reward companies for doing the right thing while using our spending power for the common good.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. From 1 June 2022, tenders must include a minimum of 10% of total award criteria to social value. The new Scoring Social Value policy applies to tenders for services contracts worth over £123,000 and construction contacts with a value over £4.7m. These make up approximately 95% of the total value of government contracts. The policy can be viewed at: https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/publications/ppn-0121-scoring-social-value
  2. Suppliers bidding for public contacts can deliver social value by choosing from a menu of options including: employment and training opportunities for those who face barriers to employment; promoting ethical supply chains to tackle modern slavery and protect human rights; net zero carbon and environmental protection and improvement; and measures to support the health and well-being of the contract workforce.
  3. Inch Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery on the outskirts of Downpatrick, Co Down. The monument is in state care and is one of the sites contained with the grounds maintenance contract. The Department for Communities Historic Environment Division has responsibility for 186 state care monuments, of which 89 are included in this grounds maintenance contract.
  4. Caption: Since the start of June, up to £158 million worth of government tenders have been published which include social value in the award criteria alongside price and quality. All government tenders issued since then have included payment of the Living Wage as a condition of contract. Pictured are: Finance Minister, Conor Murphy along with Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey pictured at Inch Abbey in Downpatrick with Bronagh Vallely, Commercial Director from idverde and Darren McGrath, Director of McGrath Contracts Ltd who have recently been awarded the grounds maintenance contract for 89 state care monuments.
  5. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Finance Press Office on Tel: 028 9081 6724 or email dof.pressoffice@finance-ni.gov.uk.
  6. Follow us on Twitter @dptfinance
  7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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