07 November 2010

Social Procurement Guide

Reposted in full from Pro Bono News, 14 October 2010

'The Victorian Government has launched a guide to social procurement in Local Government - as part of a national project to develop social procurement procedures for organisations and individuals.

Social Procurement: A Guide for Victorian Local Government

The Centre for Social Impact (UNSW) together with Social Traders, Foresters Community Finance, the Victorian Government, Parramatta City Council and Brisbane City Council are all funding a national research project into social procurement which is due for release later this year.

Social procurement is the process of an organisation choosing to purchase a service which will also provide a social outcome.

The Victorian Government guide was launched by the Minister for Local Government, Richard Wynne and has been developed to support Victorian councils deliver stronger social outcomes through procurement. It is closely aligned with Social Procurement in Australia, an overarching national paper commissioned by the Centre for Social Impact.

The Guide says that each year Victorian councils spend around $3 billion procuring goods and services in a wide variety of expenditure areas. Social procurement recognises the collective buying power of Victoria’s 79 councils and encourages councils to consider what could be achieved if even a small percentage of council spending was focused on ‘value adding’, so that the purchase of goods and services also had positive social outcomes.

For example, it says waste management need not solely be centred around a contract to collect bins and manage waste. It could also simultaneously generate local employment, increase community recycling options, educate the community about waste minimisation, reduce landfill and contribute to building the local economy. The act of strategic procurement can lead to multiple positive social outcomes for the municipality.

Minister Wynne says social procurement is becoming increasingly popular as governments look at ways to meet social objectives as part of their triple-bottom line reporting.

He says the guide is complemented by the Expert Support Program, which will bring the guide to life by supporting the development of social procurement projects and initiatives by councils.

The Expert Support Program: Social Procurement in Practice encourages partnerships between councils and organisations that can deliver social impacts to the community and scope for local business to engage with their local council.

The guide highlights that incorporating social benefits into a council's procurement framework can involve requesting that suppliers deliver social impacts as part of a contract with scope for Not for Profits to actively participate in the tendering process.

While primarily written as a guide for Victorian councils, the guide also provides Not for Profits with insight into how councils are undertaking social procurement and how they might best position their company to engage with councils in this space.

The guide itself is an example of social procurement, having been designed by Blue SKYS Media, a social enterprise of St Kilda Youth Services which offers training and employment opportunities to disadvantaged youth.'

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