What is social procurement?

Social procurement involves using procurement processes and purchasing power to generate positive social outcomes in addition to the delivery of efficient goods, services and works. Social procurement strategies can be employed to deliver:

  • social policy objectives
  • social procurement outcomes as part of the value-for-money in council purchasing frameworks.

Examples of social procurement include:

  • employing local workers and/or providers
  • encouraging participation in procurement by diverse providers, including social benefit suppliers
  • incorporating social benefit objectives, outcomes and requirements into procurement documentation
  • purchasing fair trade products
  • supporting ethical supply chains.

Social procurement is a key mechanism by which to generate wider social benefits for triple bottom line reporting, by providing a mechanism for linking and integrating social and economic agendas.

Outcomes of Social Procurement

The outcomes of social procurement include:

  • creation of training and employment opportunities through procurement processes, clauses and specifications in contracts
  • addressing complex local challenges, such as intergenerational employment, crime, vandalism and economic decline in local communities or amongst disengaged groups
  • encouragement of local economic development and growth
  • promotion of fair and ethical trade
  • social inclusion, particularly for vulnerable groups, giving them the opportunity to participate in the community and the economy
  • engagement of small-to-medium enterprises, social benefit suppliers providing them with the same opportunities as other businesses, including the ability to engage in procurement processes
  • securing a council’s reputation and leadership in recognising and implementing corporate social responsibility initiatives in the public sector.