Construction and consultancy company Amey will increase spend on social enterprises to 5% by the end of 2023, amounting to £40m.
The firm works closely with social enterprises as they “put social and environmental issues at the core”. Three quarters of its suppliers are SMEs.
Amey spent £3.7m with social enterprise suppliers in 2018 and has set targets for 1% (£8m) of spend to be with social enterprises by the end of 2020, with an increase to 5% (£40m) by the end of 2023.
The firm works with about 4,500 suppliers nationwide in various areas of construction, such as engineering and utilities, and has an annual turnover of £2.2bn.
John Cully, chief procurement officer at Amey, said: “We want to see social enterprises flourish as part of [government] procurement reforms because we understand the immense value they can unlock for local communities and the significant innovations and solutions they can offer businesses like ours.
“Our aim to maximise opportunities for social enterprises to deliver products and services is achieving great results with a doubling of spend with social enterprise businesses in 2018.”
Claire Dove, crown representative for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations in government, said: “Amey's spend commitment with social enterprises is to be commended, and sets an excellent example of how to incorporate social value in commercial business activity."
Amey called on suppliers to move social value up the agenda as it launched its Social Value Supply Chain Charter to help suppliers identify ways to deliver social value in their operations.
The charter focuses on four areas: developing and empowering people, supporting local economies and businesses, reducing environmental impact, and delivering positive change in communities by creating employment opportunities and improving people’s skills.
This tackles problems in supply chains such as modern slavery, low employability, high rates of reoffenders, inclusivity and diversity, and evironmental waste and carbon emissions.
The charter was established in collaboration with Social Enterprise UK and will benchmark areas of social value that companies can improve and optimise within their supply chain.
Speaking at the launch in London, Emily Davies, head of social impact at Amey, said: “We don’t want this to be a tick box [process]. Not everyone is going to be able to deliver on everything so it’s about picking those few things that you know you can contribute to, but the sky’s the limit on impact and it’s got to be somehow related to the product or services that you’re providing.
“If this is going to work it has got to be [based] on genuine shared value. We exist to deliver public services to procurers so collectively we have to make this money work better and work harder for society.”
The charter supports firms in the tendering process to show social value benefits of their services within public service contracts, which now require a minimum of 10% social value.
Cully said: “The [charter] programme is a great way of doing business and will change people’s lives. It is well achievable if we work together and engage with each other.”
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