Home > Knowledge > Topics and Skills > Strategy and Policy > Engaging with the Third Sector

Engaging with the Third Sector

Third sector social enterprise has a long history, from the co-operative movement of the 1800s to the long trading activities of many charities, of which The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply is one.

Information about Engaging with the Third Sector

This guide is designed to help predominantly, but not exclusively, public sector procurement professionals to engage with the third sector for the procurement or commissioning of mainly services. Readers will learn something about the background, history, size, scope and importance of the sector, something about sectoral trends and some of the advantages and disadvantages of buying from the third sector.

Other objectives of the guide are to raise awareness generally in the sector, to outline the special expertise of organisations, to highlight some of the barriers faced by organisations in competing for contracts and to summarise what buyers might do to increase third sector business. Finally, it will point to some useful sources of further reading. Much of what is written here will be of greater value to the public sector buyer than his or her counterpart in the private sector, but it is not unknown for private sector firms to buy from the third sector, so some of the principles in this guide might be useful to those buyers.

The guide is designed to be read by procurement professionals, project managers engaged in procurement projects and other staff and managers who may be involved in the design or approval of policies and programmes that shape procurement strategies.

Return to SRM and SC Management topic.

Return to Strategy and Policy topic.

Related concepts

Global vs Local Sourcing

There appears to be an almost unstoppable march towards more and more global sourcing. If we perceive that everyone else is going global, shouldn’t we?

Find out more


The world did not proclaim the dawn of globalisation the moment McDonald’s opened its doors in Beijing, or when Vietnamese factories reeled off their first Nike trainers. The term...

Find out more

Traditional / Open Loop / Forward Supply Chain

The returns process has typically been handled and is separate and distinct from the forward supply chain. Recently, however, there has

been more discussion of integrating...

Find out more