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Social Value: What is a TOMs Schedule?

Bespoke Bids
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Bespoke Bids

What is a TOMs Schedule? For those of us who are not used to swimming in the murky waters of procurement, they can look rather intimidating.

It is not unusual to find a TOMs Schedule with 40+ potential ‘initiatives.’ Faced with a large, complicated looking excel spreadsheet, even the eager bidder might be inclined to furrow her brow, quickly close the window, and delete the file.

TOMs Schedules are now a necessary part of many bids, and they are likely here to stay. We know from experience that the art is in understanding TOMs and turning them to your advantage. TOMs can be the key to scoring those extra marks against your competitors, who are likely still sat scratching their heads.

What is a TOMs Schedule?

THEMES – visionary social value areas.

OUTCOMES – the positive changes within communities an organisation wants to see.

MEASURES – a set of measurements used to achieve outcomes.

TOMs is a framework launched in 2017 by the Social Value Portal and Social Value Taskforce. It is a platform for measuring social value commitments. It aims to establish best practice for integrating the Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012 into the UK public sector and business community.

The Schedule is an instrument used to measure the impact of initiatives that come under the framework.

Format of a TOMs Schedule

The Schedule itself will usually be an excel spreadsheet with a set of ‘initiatives’ to choose from. Whilst the document will look intimidating, you are only ever going to have to populate a small part of it. Understanding which parts to fill out and what to put in there is the key to success.

How to approach the TOMs Schedule

Understand Your Commitments

Universal mantra: before you make any promises, make sure you understand what you are getting yourself into. Take some time to understand what the TOMs Schedule is asking for. Consult people in the know. It might seem like time spent for little direct return, but understanding the initiatives will make it much easier for you to make achievable commitments and score well.

Aim High

The score for your TOMs Schedule will often be calculated by evaluating it against the other bidders. This means that the submission with the highest score in the Schedule will be awarded 100% for that section and so on. Social value can consist of up to 40% of your overall weighting; scoring well relative to competitors is imperative to winning a bid.

Be Realistic

This might contradict the last point about aiming high, put procurement, like all things, is about balance. Do not overcommit. Contracting Authorities may well follow up to check you are following through. They might incorporate commitments made in TOMs into the contract itself, and even invalidate a contract if you are unable to stick to them down the line.

Talking to the Right People About TOMs

TOMs Schedules can be tricky and time consuming. They often require a lot of background knowledge to understand and can take time and effort to master.

If you feel out of your depth, or require bid preparation guidance of any sort, Bespoke Bids can provide a range of services tailored to your needs.

Contact us today on: (0161) 883 1836 or email

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