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Victoria Launches Australian-First Social Procurement Framework

30 April 2018 at 4:22 pm
Luke Michael
Victoria has launched a “whole-of-government approach” to social procurement, with the Andrews government hoping to leverage its significant buying power to bolster the state’s social enterprise sector.

Luke Michael | 30 April 2018 at 4:22 pm


Victoria Launches Australian-First Social Procurement Framework
30 April 2018 at 4:22 pm

Victoria has launched a “whole-of-government approach” to social procurement, with the Andrews government hoping to leverage its significant buying power to bolster the state’s social enterprise sector.

The Victorian Minister for Industry and Employment Ben Carroll and Minister for Finance Robin Scott, launched the Victorian Social Procurement Framework at social enterprise hub Donkey Wheel House last Thursday.

This Australian-first approach means businesses who use social and disability enterprises or Aboriginal businesses in their tenders for government contracts will have a competitive edge over those who do not.

It will apply to the purchase of all goods, services and construction by government departments and agencies.

Minister Carroll said this would create jobs for disadvantaged job seekers including Indigenous people, victims of family violence and people with disability.

“This Australian first, whole-of-government approach, will deliver real benefits to those Victorians struggling to find work,” Carroll said.

“Social procurement ensures that value for money is not solely focused on the cheapest price, but also maximises social and economic benefits for all Victorians.”

Minister Scott added that the initiative built on Victoria’s national leadership in the social enterprise space, with more than 3,500 social enterprises across the state contributing in excess of $5 billion to the economy.

“This framework gives social value for Victorians while delivering valuable services and infrastructure for Victoria,” Scott said.

“This framework shows the Andrews Labor government is leading the way by ensuring its purchasing decisions can add value that benefits all Victorians.”

As part of the framework, all Victorian government departments and agencies will be required to prepare a social procurement strategy.

“These [strategies] need to support policy, practice and capability development for staff, suppliers and supply chains,” the framework said.

“The flexible application of this framework within existing procurement practice seeks to ensure that social procurement is embedded in ordinary government business, with minimal burden on buyers or suppliers.”

This government framework has been endorsed by social enterprise development organisation, Social Traders.

Managing director David Brookes said the framework closely aligned with Social Traders’ own strategic priorities.

“Buying from social enterprise represents the greatest potential for social change in Australia and we congratulate the Victorian government for taking a strong leadership role, and setting an example, towards realising this potential,” Brookes said.

“Additionally, it is critical to recognise that buying from social enterprise delivers more than goods and services – buyers are also purchasing additional social impact, at no extra cost.

“We congratulate the government on its explicit intention to increase the value and efficiency of its significant procurement spend in this way.”

In 2016-17, the Victorian government spent $16 billion on goods and services to support its service delivery and operations.

Social Traders estimates that for every $100,000 spent on social procurement, 1.5 jobs will be created for disadvantaged Australians.  

Brookes said the contribution of social enterprise to Victoria’s economy was growing – with social enterprises collectively employing 60,000 people across the state.

“The launch of this whole of government social procurement framework along with our certification mark will give impetus to Social Traders work of creating employment through social enterprise by connecting certified suppliers to new procurement opportunities,” he said.

“While Social Traders would like to see more prescriptive social procurement targets set over time, the framework is a big step in the right direction.

“We look forward to supporting implementation of the framework across government departments and agencies over coming months.”

This framework follows the Victorian government’s work releasing Australia’s first Social Enterprise Strategy in February last year.

As part of this strategy, the Level Crossing Removal Authority became the first Victorian government organisation to adopt a social procurement policy, requiring goods and services purchased across its 50 projects to come from social enterprises where possible.

The Victorian Social Procurement Framework will roll out across all government departments and agencies from September.

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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