Buying Social Justice project launches major survey of procurement officers

Posted by The Project Team on 22 August 2022

A survey of thousands of procurement officers in local government, housing associations and universities has been launched by the Buying Social Justice project. The survey will provide new data on what procurement officers are doing to include social and equality criteria in their procurement practices throughout England, Scotland and Wales.

Public authorities in England and Wales are required to take account of social value, meaning that they must consider how the services they commission and procure can improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the area, while Scottish public bodies have duties to seek community benefits from their procurement practices.

Yet there is little consistent data across public bodies about what social aspects they are including in their purchasing of goods, services and works projects, and less on the effectiveness of these practices. One of the aims of the Buying Social Justice project is to fill this gap. The survey asks questions about the types of social and equality criteria that are included in all stages of procurement, from tendering and bid evaluation to management of the contract and monitoring.

A further objective of this project is to produce guidance in the form of a toolkit on how public authorities can incorporate social and equality aims in procurement, and the survey results will provide valuable evidence of what is effective and practicable. The project is being supported by a Project Advisory Board, made up of practitioners in procurement, equality and construction, as well as academic experts, who have advised on the survey questions and will provide input into the toolkit.

The survey is being distributed with the assistance of the Higher Education Purchasing Association, the Local Government Association, Procurement for Housing and Scotland Excel. The Buying Social Justice project is very grateful to these organisations for their support for the research. The survey closes on 16 September, and initial results will be published on the project website.  

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