NSW government signs social procurement deal
17 August 2020 at 6:10 pm
“The potential to support disadvantaged people in NSW by allocating some of the NSW government’s procurement spend to social enterprise is enormous,” an advocate says.
New South Wales government departments are being encouraged to buy goods and services from social enterprises following the signing of a landmark new deal.
The Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope has announced an agreement between the NSW government and Social Traders, which will allow departments to access the organisation’s list of certified social enterprises.
Tudehope said departments could use this information to increase the social impact of their procurements.
“COVID-19 has hit many businesses, including the social enterprise sector,” Tudehope said.
“This agreement will enable NSW government departments to use their procurement spend to support social enterprises and create employment opportunities for some of our community members most impacted by COVID-19.”
This agreement comes as the NSW government was named inaugural sponsor of the recently formed Social Enterprise Council of NSW and ACT (SECNA).
The NSW Government Procurement Policy Framework has also been updated as part of the deal, to encourage agencies to consider social procurement.
Mark Daniels from Social Traders told Pro Bono News that the contract with the NSW government has been in development for more than 18 months.
He said with social enterprise now integrated into the NSW Procurement Policy Framework, the sector was more visible to buyers.
“This is critically important as the policy actively encourages buyers to engage social enterprises – doing that is now a lot easier and more accessible,” Daniels said.
“Gradually the awareness of social enterprise, and the power of social procurement, will rise across government.”
Daniels added that an announcement around a similar arrangement with another state government was “imminent”.
Social Traders managing director David Brookes said he was excited to welcome NSW to the growing community of businesses and governments buying from social enterprises.
The Queensland government and several Victorian government departments are already Social Traders members. Victoria also developed Australia’s first social procurement policy in 2018.
“[Social] enterprises have a particularly unique role to play in the COVID-19 economic recovery by creating jobs for the most vulnerable who have fallen out of the job market,” Brookes said.
“The potential to support disadvantaged people in NSW by allocating some of the NSW government’s procurement spend to social enterprise is enormous.”
One social enterprise set to benefit from the deal is Beehive Industries, which provides work, meals and support for seniors, people with disability and the long-term unemployed.
CEO Brendan Lonergan said the new agreement was a major step forward for the sector and would boost social procurement awareness within government departments and beyond.
“The revenue we earn lets us support close to 200 people – we keep people active and engaged in a safe and supportive environment, we feed them and we help people with social isolation and mental health issues,” Lonergan said.
“The benefits that are achieved through businesses and government making simple social procurement decisions are massive.”