Measuring social value in a recruitment contract
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Measuring social value in a recruitment contract

11 May 2021 By Amy Clark – Category Buyer of HR Services at YPO

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Social value is a term we often hear when considering procurement and contracts, but what is it and how can you incorporate it into your contract for recruitment services?

What is social value?

There is no ‘one size fits all definition of social value’, it is something that changes dependent on the contract at hand. However, we can think of social value more broadly as the added value of our contracts, the element which makes sure the contract achieves more than just cost savings and a quality delivery of the goods, services or works in question and instead provides a benefit to a local area by way of improving the economic, social or environmental state.

Social value and recruitment

So, while it is easy to discuss social value generally, what might social value look like within your contract for recruitment and how can your provider help you deliver on your social value aims?

Recruitment, both temporary and permanent, offers lots of opportunity when it comes to social value, some key areas to consider are:

  • Local agencies – can your provider use local agencies to fill some of your roles? This would support your local economy in two ways: use of local businesses and employment of local people

  • Candidate selection – can you work with your provider to develop some social value focussed criteria to be considered when looking for suitable candidates, which go beyond being suitably qualified and looks at other criteria such as location or upskilling?

  • Reducing unemployment – can your provider work with local job centres to help reduce unemployment? Or your provider may even be able to assist with future workforce planning in order to increase the number of permanent roles you can recruit to within budget

  • Training – can your provider bring in resource via means other than temporary or permanent recruitment, such as via an apprenticeship scheme? In doing so you would also be increasing the skill set of your local economy

  • Workshops – what can your provider deliver outside of the specific delivery of the contract i.e., filling of vacant roles? Your provider should be a recruitment specialist, so they should be able to support people within your area with skills such as CV writing or interview preparation for example

Your contract

While social value is considered at framework level, we would always advise incorporating social value directly within your call-off contract.

Social value will look different for each contracting authority, so it is important to first establish what social value means to you and what you are looking to achieve, for example delivery of upskilling workshops may be more important to you than using a local agency. You can then include your social value aims within your procurement documentation as follows:

  • Your specification – use this to set out what your social value aims are and what you expect the successful provider to deliver as a minimum

  • Your quality evaluation – you can use your quality questions to build upon your specification, you know what you want your provider to deliver, but you can use the quality questions to establish which provider will best deliver on those requirements

  • Your call-off contract – you can include delivery of social value within KPIs and management reports to monitor delivery. It is at this stage that social value becomes measurable, for example your provider should be able to report on the number of roles filled via a local agency, or how many workshops have been delivered and the feedback from that

Don’t forget that engagement with the market is key when considering social value. Providers can discuss different routes to achieving social value, provide insight into what the rest of the sector is doing, innovative ideas and help you to make your social value aims a reality.


Our HR Services procurement team are also always on hand to help and happy and answer any queries you may have, so please get in touch!


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