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Social Value Portal

Cardiff Council: Delivering Social Value in procurement and contract management

Cardiff Council has long been recognised for its commitment and leadership in prioritising social responsibility. Read how they have used the Social Value TOM System™ to measure and track Social Value across their projects.



Cardiff Council has long been recognised for its commitment and leadership in prioritising social responsibility. The council’s five year plan, Capital Ambition, contains a commitment to Social Value and prioritises social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing for the region.

The procurement team recognised that their £500 million annual spend with suppliers and contractors could make a significant contribution to this commitment. The council has had a well-established Socially Responsible Procurement Policy in place since 2018, which focuses on six areas:

  1. Providing local training and employment opportunities
  2. Supporting Cardiff-based businesses
  3. Partnering with community initiatives
  4. Staying green and sustainable
  5. Ensuring ethical employment
  6. Promoting the wellbeing of young people and vulnerable adults

Key to delivery has been securing commitments from suppliers and contractors. The council has used the Welsh Government community benefits toolkit for a number of years, but a review identified an opportunity to:

  • Increase the number of contracts which contain community benefits
  • Ensure community benefit commitments are delivered through improved contract management
  • Improve measurement and reporting on delivery

Making Social Value easier and accessible for all

The council wanted to be able to consistently measure and monitor community benefits. To this end, the procurement team adopted the Social Value TOM System™, and integrated the Social Value Portal platform with their procurement and contract management processes.

During the set-up, our team mapped ‘basic’, ‘light’ and ‘full’ TOM System Measures relevant to the subject matter and value of the contract. This approach removed the need for complex prioritisation and weighting, in turn making contracts more accessible to smaller businesses. At the same time, it supports delivery against defined commitments and targets.

Maximising Social Value in tenders

The first project for which the council used the TOM System was the development of the Cardiff Indoor Arena. This substantial project went out to tender in July 2020 and will cost around £150 million to build. It is projected to attract more than one million visitors annually and inject an estimated £100 million into the local economy per year.

The TOM System framework allowed Cardiff Council to evaluate bids fairly, make informed decisions, and secure the preferred bidder against balanced commitments. Since then, the council has used the TOM System on over 90 projects, with exceptional results, including:

  • £6.2 million delivered in Social Value
  • £29 million committed in Social Value
  • £43 million committed in local spend   

Going forward, Social Value Portal will enable the council, and successful contractors, to manage contracts efficiently and effectively, against all commitments to deliver social, economic, cultural and environmental value.

The Social Value TOM System and Social Value Portal provide the clear mechanism for maximising Social Value at the tender stage. But, just as importantly, it allows us to manage and report on delivery - an area which has been historically weak across the public sector.

Steve Robinson, Head of Commissioning and Procurement, Cardiff Council

Reporting and measuring on Social Value commitments

Measuring and reporting on Social Value delivery, particularly for smaller contracts, was a challenge for the council. A solution was needed to provide tangible evidence of delivery and support contract management.

Prior to partnering with Social Value Portal and adopting the TOM System, the only reporting tool available to the council was the Welsh Government Measuring Tool, used for contracts above £2 million. But this tool did not allow for wider policy context or evidence of delivery against commitments. It also left a gap in measuring against smaller value contracts.

Our team worked closely with Cardiff Council during the implementation process to advise on realistic and effective measures. As a result, Social Value evaluation and reporting have become easier for all contracts sizes and more accessible to smaller businesses.

We can now see the difference the framework is making and it’s getting better and better over time. Compared to what we did before using the TOM System and Social Value Portal, it’s now so much easier. Now you can see proper commitments and targets.

Steve Robinson, Head of Commissioning and Procurement, Cardiff Council

Leading the way in social responsibility

Cardiff Council is delighted to see real results with impact and will continue to roll out the Social Value Portal approach.

The potential of the TOM System and Social Value Portal has been evident from the outset, providing worth where it has been utilised to date. We are still learning with every project we do but our aim is that the TOM System will become embedded in the way we award and manage contracts.

Cardiff Council is now starting to share best practice and case studies. These include ‘real human stories’ of effective community benefits in practice, making Social Value easier and accessible to all.

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About Social Value Portal

Since 2017 Social Value Portal has been at the forefront of the Social Value movement. As creators of the endorsed Social Value TOM SystemTM, hosts of the annual Social Value Conference and founding members of the independent National Social Value Taskforce – they set industry standards and lead the business agenda.

Their unique mix of consultancy, cloud platform and programmes offer organisations the complete solution to accurately measure, manage and report Social Value – and create lasting impact.

In 2022, SVP achieved B Corp status, scoring above average in all assessed. The company’s aim is to promote better business and community wellbeing through the integration of Social Value into day-to-day business activity across all sectors.

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