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1st Apr, 2024

Tracey Dawes
Tracey Dawes
Job Title
Solutions Director

In the modern business world, social value is about more than profit. It emphasises a company’s impact on its community, environment, and employees. It allows organisations to build strong relationships with their stakeholders, including customers, employees, and the wider community. 

Social value is a broader understanding of value. It moves beyond using money to indicate value. Instead, the emphasis is put on engaging people to understand the impact of actions, opportunities and decisions on their lives. 

Social value and the public sector 

When we talk about public sector bids, it has become increasingly important to demonstrate social value. 

Social value is central to winning new business as it not only demonstrates a commitment to making a positive impact beyond financial gain, but builds trust with stakeholders and dovetails with the growing demand for businesses to be socially responsible. 

As public bodies are spending people’s hard-earned money, when they are procuring services and solutions from private sector organisations, they are looking for companies which can add value above and beyond the fundamental specification for any bid. 

Incorporating social value into tendering does come with some inherent dangers – for both the public bodies involved and those organisations doing the bidding. 

When an organisation is making a bid, however much it cares about social value, it is still ultimately a business operating to make a commercial return. 

Any private company making a bid must be careful not to over commit in terms of the social value it says it can provide. It is important the commitments being made are realistic and organisations do not simply play a points game to win contracts. 

The whole concept of social value may have been borne out of government requirements, but – for me – it feels morally right to go above and beyond what the specification for a contract is asking you to do, especially when as an organisation you have the resource to positively improve the lives of those in the community. 

Social value is about the expertise businesses have, and how that knowledge can be leveraged to support people in their everyday lives. 

Reed Talent Solutions and social value 

At Reed Talent Solutions, our purpose is ‘improving lives through work’. Therefore, our social value offerings revolve around how we can help people source and secure work. 

Social value has always been close to our hearts. We believe meaningful employment is a right everyone should have and our dedication to ‘improving lives through work’ is something that drives us forward. 

The social value we can provide is about changing the narrative in a particular local community around finding work. It is about how we can help those looking for work to go and secure it by doing CV workshops, provide job seeking advice, interview guidance and mentoring programmes. 

We can support people on their journey towards employment, but our social value is also about preparing people for the world of work or improving their confidence levels.  Currently we are working with our partners to deliver social value schemes that include: 


We create marketing materials to promote and encourage cycling, walking and alternative methods of travelling to work and cascade these to workers prior to placement. We provide reporting on how people travel to work.  


  • Getting more local people into work 

 We set targets to employ certain numbers of local people per year for each client and use our network of offices, and, to promote vacancies to candidates. We attend local job fairs to promote temporary employment and specific roles for our clients. Where possible, we maintain stands, providing CV tips, interview techniques and employability coaching. We identify suitable local agencies and ensure our supply chain incorporates local small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and ethnically diverse specific suppliers to best engage local diverse talent.  

  • Getting more local unemployed people into work 

 We commit to providing a set amount of voluntary time per year towards supporting unemployed people and targets around offering internal employment opportunities through schemes such as apprenticeships and work placements.  


  • Improving employability for young people 

 We commit to providing voluntary time each year towards school engagement. We work with our clients to develop relationships with local schools and colleges to provide on-site employability sessions, including CV advice, interview tips and mock interviews.  

  • Improving the local community 

We commit to a set amount of voluntary time per year towards supporting local community projects, such as litter picking within parks and open spaces, volunteering at libraries and attending and promoting community events, such as job fairs or community workshops.  

What’s next for social value? 

Social value is now a fundamental part of every specification of what must be delivered as part of any contract. 

As such, it is vital social value is embedded into organisations as the norm. There is a shared responsibility that is needed to track, monitor and report accurately on social media activities. 

Equally, we need to see a continued movement towards penalties for those organisations which do not meet the social value commitments they sign up to. 

This will ensure social value initiatives make a real difference to the world we live and work in. Welcome to the new 'bottom line' for the 21st Century.

At Reed Talent Solutions, a strong emphasis on corporate responsibility and an excellent track record on social impact are central to our ethos. Find out more about out social value here.

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