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Briefing published on how to advance equality through socially responsible procurement

Posted by Tessa Wright on May 20, 2024

The Buying Social Justice project has produced a briefing for procurement practitioners, policymakers, equality advocates, trade unions and others on how to align procurement practices with equality and social justice. Buying social justice: How socially responsible public procurement can advance equality in employment is published by the School of Business and Management, Queen Mary, in its Research Insights series which showcases the work of the School’s researchers addressing business and societal challenges related to social justice, sustainability and good governance.

The 4-page briefing summarises the key findings of the Buying Social Justice project, showing how public procurement can be used more extensively to advance equality in employment. The research found good examples of how equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) objectives are promoted in procurement practice, but that it was not widespread across the public sector. The briefing contains recommendations for procurement specialists, including:

  • Develop socially responsible procurement policies and guidance that incorporate EDI aims, alongside aims to reduce socio-economic inequality;
  • Develop specific EDI training for procurement practitioners and those bidding for public contracts as part of their professional development;
  • Highlight the links between environmental sustainability aims and equality objectives as you develop procurement strategies and policies;
  • Collaborate with trade unions and civil society groups on embedding equality in procurement.

The Buying Social Justice Equality and Diversity toolkit contains further details on how to incorporate EDI objectives into all stages of the procurement process, and is available to download free from the project website.

Project leader Professor Tessa Wright said: “We hope that the brief can persuade those involved in procurement who are not already directly incorporating equality considerations why they should do so, to lead them towards using the toolkit.”

The full findings of the Buying Social Justice project are published in the final report.

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