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Public sector-focused infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider UKCloud has become the first UK tech firm to achieve a Social Value Quality Mark (SVQM) Level 2 accreditation in recognition of its commitment to ensuring its operations bring societal benefits.
Earlier this year, the company became the first UK tech firm to secure a SVQM Level 1 accreditation, and now it has followed that up by doubling down on its efforts to showcase its support for delivering social value with a Level 2 certification.
The company was presented with the award at its offices in Farnborough on Friday 25 June by the MP for Aldershot, Leo Docherty MP, and Richard Dickins, managing director of consultancy firm Social Value Business.
“It has never been more important than now for local businesses that can, to put their shoulder to the wheel and help grow the economy, help communities recover from Covid and commit to environmental responsibility,” said Docherty. “The award of the Social Value Quality Mark to UKCloud is a very welcome commitment on UKCloud’s part to its local community.”
UKCloud marked receiving the award by publishing details of the findings in an independent report, entitled Measuring what matters, which was compiled by Social Value Business.
The report claims that UKCloud generates £1.43 of social value for every £1 of revenue it makes, while employing and sustaining 248 UK-based jobs and stimulating local economic benefit by paying out a total of £5.2m in salaries to its employees. It also calculates that over the course of 2019 and 2020, UKCloud offset 214 tonnes of carbon on behalf of its customers.
News of the award follows the introduction of measures at the start of 2021 to ensure government departments factored in social value contributions when choosing suppliers to fulfil contracts, with firms ranked according to their commitments to fighting climate change and helping the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, for example.
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- The UK government has renewed its longstanding memorandum of understanding with Microsoft so that public sector organisations can continue to access discounted pricing on the tech giant’s cloud infrastructure and software products.
- Amazon Web Services has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding with the UK government to accelerate the adoption of cloud within the public sector, while also providing opportunities for civil servants to bolster their own tech skills.
For this reason, Simon Hansford, CEO of UKCloud, said securing the SVQ Market Level accreditations should set the company apart when vying for government business against other public cloud providers.
“With Social Value now mandated for all central government procurements with a minimum weighting of 10%, I am convinced that the SVQM Levels 1 and 2 will be a competitive differentiator for UKCloud,” he told Computer Weekly.
“The 10% is a significant value when it comes to winning or losing tenders. The SVQMs provide independent validation of UKCloud’s Social Value credentials and means that UKCloud’s activities in this have already been considered and measured, so our bid teams are not faced with a blank sheet of paper every time they respond to a tender.”
Earlier this month, the Cabinet Office set out plans to tweak its procurement policies from September 2021, to introduce a requirement that suppliers bidding for major government contractors must commit to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
According to UKCloud, the SVQM assessment has verified its operations are already carbon neutral and have been since 2014.
“While sustainability is already a theme in the government’s Social Value Model, this new policy will be a huge step forward in our fight against climate change,” said Hansford.
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