“Social Procurement relates to how the purchase of goods, services and works by organisations can generate positive social impacts” Ingrid Burkett, Social Procurement Australia.

Social procurement can be implemented in a number of ways:

  • procuring through social enterprises
  • including a clause in procurement policies that requires tenders to be assessed in terms of the social impact they create
  • requiring successful tenders to employ a certain percentage of people from disadvantaged backgrounds in their workforce

The potential social impact of social procurement is enormous. According to Social Procurement Australasia, governments alone spend around $141 billion on procured goods and services. Huge volumes of products, services, and labour can be procured for social impact, from the coffee you drink in the office, to the cleaning supplies used at your facilities, to the staff hired to work with you.

 

What to Read

While social procurement is still an emerging approach in Australia, governments in the UK and US have put policies in place to facilitate rapid uptake. For instance, the UK Social Value Act requires public authorities to consider economic, social and environmental well-being in their public services contracts. The UK also introduced the Social Value Procurement Frameworks and Social Value Commissioning.

Social procurement is gaining some traction with governments, particularly local, as well as the private sector. A number of publications have been released in Australia:

 

Key Players

In addition to our own work at Social Outcomes, there are a number of intermediaries who are building bridges between social enterprise suppliers and procurers. These include:

 

Case Studies

Corporates leading this work include:

State and local governments involved include:

 

The video below shows Western Sydney Parklands’ experience with social procurement: