UK Parliament recognised for ‘buying social’

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
26 November 2014

The House of Commons and House of Lords have been awarded an accreditation for having social enterprises in their supply chains.

A year after the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow vowed to put “buy social at the heart of Parliament” it has been accredited as a ‘Buy Social’ organisation by Social Enterprise UK.

Both the houses won the recognition after buying from some of Britain’s 70,000 social enterprises and considering the added social and environmental value that can be gained when purchasing or commissioning goods and services.

The UK Parliament already has a number of social enterprises in its supply chain, including the Jubilee Hall Trust Gym, the London Early Years Foundation Nurseries and Belu Water. Its contracts are also accredited by the London Living Wage campaign.

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of Social Enterprise UK, said: "We should be incredibly proud they have met the Buy Social criteria. We hope parliaments in other countries around the world take notice of the UK and follow suit.”

Salford and Eccles MP Hazel Blears, who is vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Enterprise, said: “We now require major public sector bodies like councils and hospitals to consider wider public benefits when buying in services, so it is only right that parliament and our two speakers are showing leadership on this.”

The government has recently appointed Blears to the Social Value Review to examine the impact of the Public Services (Social Value) Act and how it might be extended to cover contracts for goods and works as well as services. The act asks that public sector commissioners try to create social and environmental benefit that’s beyond the primary purpose of a contract.

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