Introducing the HE TOMs (Higher Education Themes, Outcomes and Measures)

“Show me the Money” Measuring, Monitoring and Reporting Social Value in your Contracts
Introducing the HE TOMs (Higher Education Themes, Outcomes and Measures)

Introducing the HE TOMs (Higher Education Themes, Outcomes and Measures)

Whilst we all aspire to do better, sometimes knowing where to start, and how to demonstrate social value is a challenge that delays progress. We are pleased to introduce, free for you to download and use locally, a new tool which will help you:  The HE TOMs.

A national task force made up from the Social Value Portal, UKUPC and member institutions has been working collaboratively to identify a solution which enables organisations to procure, measure, manage and maximise social value in procurement activity in a consistent way and define the benefit in £’s.

The Background

Social Value is considered to be the wider benefit gained by a local community from the delivery of public contracts.  For the HE TOMs, social value is separated into four key areas, the THEMES:

  • Jobs: Promote local Skills and Employment
  • Growth: Supporting Growth of Responsible Regional Business
  • Social: Healthier Safer and More Resilient Communities
  • Environment: Decarbonising and Safeguarding our world

These THEMES are then broken down into possible OUTCOMES, in effect the strategic objectives.  A list of 11 OUTCOMES is provided, for example, under Jobs you may select “More local people in employment” or “Improved Skills for disadvantaged people”.

Each of the outcomes is then further broken down into a MEASURE.  The measure explains which element is to be considered: for example, under “More local people in employment” we would look at the “Percentage of local employees (FTE) on contract”

Using nationally recognised and agreed values, a GBP value is then allocated to each measure to enable a calculation of social value to be made and reported (see Table 1 below).  

Table 1. GBP Values Against Each Theme

HE TOMs (Higher Education Themes, Outcomes and Measures)

Who is this guidance for?

This brief and easy to use guidance is aimed at procurement professionals who are responsible for the inclusion of Social Value in their work.   The Social Value Portal will provide official detailed guidance, we will contact you again as soon as that is available.

Before you start, what do you need to know?

It is important that you have a good understanding of your organisation’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies.  Are you clear about how your work fits in, what are the goals detailed that you could align to?  Which departments in your organisation are responsible for which strategic goals, ask questions if you are unclear.

You need to understand the product or service you are buying, the market opportunities and challenges, and the potential supplier base.    

You also need to understand the local community in which you work. Consider the demographics, the infrastructure, the history and community features, economic and political aspects, local needs and priorities, attitudes and values.

Getting Started – How to use the HE TOMs

  1. Ensure you have a stakeholder map which details all those relevant to the procurement and responsible for social value across your organisation.  Ensure those stakeholders understand what you are trying to achieve, and also that you are clear what their objectives are.
  2. Review the HE TOMs set to identify measures for inclusion, appropriate for the product or service you are procuring.  Liaise with your stakeholders, including your potential supplier base.  In making your decision about which Measures to include you should not try and ‘second guess’ what a supplier might be able (or prefer) to deliver and so your TOMs set should be chosen to appeal to a wide business constituency including SMEs.
  3. Agree the evaluation criteria as part of your procurement strategy. You may wish to consider the PPN 006/20 suggested value of 10%. Whatever you decide it must proportionate and relevant to your contractual requirements.
  4. Undertake the procurement exercise in line with the required procurement regulations, evaluating and scoring elements appropriately.  Evaluation should be scored based on the quantitative and qualitative value achieved; You should calculate using the figures included in the HE TOMs spreadsheet and refer to the formal SVP guidance for further clarity.
  5. Once awarded, you should contract manage the social value elements throughout the life of the contract.  Hold suppliers to account, ask for evidence, and monitor outcomes (as you would with SLA’s).
  6. Report:  The monetary value will be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders, consider reporting in a range of ways: per contract, per year, per institution.   Additionally, what is the real life impact of the value you have brought, are there stories to be told, pictures, case studies and examples of the benefits?

Social Value Portal

Social Value Portal has launched its official Social Value guidance and measurement framework specific to the Higher Education (HE) sector. Helping HE bodies to capture, communicate and emphasise the full value of activities where they support their local economy and community, it also empowers and informs organisations so that embedding Social Value when procuring goods and services is a simpler process.

This includes initiatives such as;

  • helping people into employment,
  • using local suppliers,
  • actively promoting opportunities for disadvantaged groups, or
  • making sure that the organisation is operating in as sustainable a way as possible.  

The guidance has been created in partnership by Social Value Portal, and UKUPC and its member institutions, who formed a 17 strong HE Social Value Taskforce in 2021 in recognition of the challenges faced by HE bodies when introducing Social Value into procurement. The Taskforce’s brief was to create a simple, robust and workable measurement framework specifically tailored to the HE sector. 

For the background to the HE TOMs and where to start, download this UKUPC document and for full information on how to apply the TOMs in practice and a 7-Step approach to integrating Social Value into procurement, download Social Value Portal's free copy of the Higher Education TOMs guidance.

Some caveats

Not all TOMs will be applicable, the list can be used like a menu; a list of ideas you can select from for inclusion in your contracts as appropriate.   They were developed to suit all UKUPC member institutions and their communities, across all products and services, in all sectors so you will need to be mindful of which ones suit your requirements best. 

This is introductory guidance only; you can contact the Social Value Portal, speak to your local procurement team, or contact the sustainability lead in your regional consortium for advice on how to utilise the HE TOMs effectively.

The HE TOMs were developed after many hours of consultation and consideration by the taskforce.  Both the HE TOMs and the guidance will however be periodically reviewed. If they are not meeting your needs, or you have any questions, please do contact the sustainability lead in your local consortium in the first instance. 


This resource has been made possible with thanks to the collaborative efforts of the team at the Social Value Portal, UKUPC representatives and members of the Social Value taskforce, particularly, Queen Mary University, The University of Manchester, The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.


Page Updated - 23/06/2022