Collaborate with vendors to boost social benefits of contracts

13 July 2012

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15 July 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha

Greater collaboration with suppliers can increase the social value of public projects, according to a report by accountants BDO.

Social Supply: A guide to improving social value through better purchasing provided recommendations and examples of how the public sector can increase social value through procurement.

In March, the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 received Royal Assent, and means public sector buyers now have to consider the economic, social and environmental benefits when awarding a contract.

The report’s primary recommendation involved using a collaborative approach to supplier relationships where opportunities to increase social value are identified and implemented. It found three quarters of the 95 respondents (75 per cent) are already engaging with suppliers to increase the social value of their projects.

The report used the example of construction frameworks set up by local authority-controlled company Scape. The frameworks have delivered £22 million of savings, and Scape has also establishing a skills academy, which supported various work placement apprenticeships and schemes. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has established a Business Charter covering areas including social responsibility and the use of SMEs, which 10 of its major suppliers have signed up to.

BDO recommends a four-step process to establishing a social value supply chain:

1. Identify how your supply chain can contribute to social value objectives.

2. Redesign procurement processes to deliver social value.

3. Develop collaborative relationships with chosen suppliers.

4. Audit and measure the impact.


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