Survey of procurement specialists

Information for participants

This is information for procurement specialists who have received an invitation to participate in the Buying Social Justice survey on procurement and equality. Before you decide whether or not you wish to participate, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. Ask us questions if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information.

What is the purpose of the study and what would taking part involve?

This research project is investigating the use of social procurement – using public spending power to achieve social objectives – by public bodies to promote equality in the UK construction workforce. To collect evidence on the use of social procurement by local authorities, social housing providers and universities, the research will undertake interviews, a survey and case studies. One of the objectives of the project is to produce guidance on how to use social procurement effectively to increase employment equality in construction and beyond.

If you agree to take part in the survey, you will complete a short online questionnaire. This is being sent to procurement professionals. It asks questions about your organisation’s use of social procurement and your views on how this works in practice. You do not need to complete all questions, and your responses will be completely anonymised. It should take no more than 20 minutes to complete the survey.

Why am I being invited?

You are being invited to participate in the survey as a procurement professional working in one of the sectors we are interested in. The survey will ask questions about your organisation’s use of social procurement and your views on how this works in practice. We believe that this information will assist us in achieving the project objectives of understanding the benefits and challenges involved in social procurement in practice.

Do I have to take part?

This participant information sheet has been written to help you decide if you would like to take part. It is up to you whether you wish to take part. If you do decide to take part you will be free to withdraw at any time without needing to provide a reason, and with no penalties or detrimental effects.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

The aim of the project is to understand the extent and effectiveness of the use of social procurement by public bodies in England, Wales and Scotland. Based on the survey and case study data collected, and in consultation with industry and practitioner stakeholders, the project intends to produce guidance on the effective use of social procurement to increase employment equality in construction and beyond. Your responses to the survey will ensure that we capture a broad range of experience of the topic and assist us in producing useful guidance. We anticipate that the guidance will support practitioners in advancing equality within the construction sector.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

We do not anticipate any disadvantages or risks of taking part in this research project. The anonymity of individual survey participants is assured in any outputs from the project. However we may wish to publicise organisational good practice, so organisation names will be retained but only used publicly with the express permission of participants.

Expenses and payments

No payments will be made or expenses incurred in the completion of the online survey.

What information about me will you be collecting?

Participants will be asked to provide their name, gender, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, the organisation they work for, position in organisation and length of time working there, and contact details, for use by the researchers only. Survey responses will be anonymous. Any use of organisation names in project outputs will be expressly agreed with participants, who will have a right to withdraw consent at any time before publication. The purpose of the survey is to find out about the use of social procurement and views of its effectiveness, rather than to gather unnecessary personal information about participants.

How will my data be stored and who will have access to it?

Each survey response will be assigned a unique code in place of any identifying information about the respondent. In order that we may contact the participant in future, personal details will be securely stored, along with the unique code, separately from survey responses. All data will be stored on the project’s secure SharePoint site managed by Queen Mary (accessible via username and password login) and will only be accessible to the project researchers.

As this is an ESRC-funded project (grant no. ES/V014226/1) we are committed to making the research data accessible for future research via the UK Data Service. Before the survey and interview data is made available to the UK Data Service, within three months of the end of the project, the Research Assistant will anonymise all individual and organisation names and any other personally identifying details will be removed. Additionally the anonymised data sets will be deposited in QM’s open access institutional repository of research output.

When and how will my data be destroyed?

Project data will be retained after the end of the project for a period of a maximum of five years, archived in a secure storage area of the Queen Mary data storage system in line with the University’s data policies. After this time, the data will be destroyed (although anonymised data may still be available through the UK Data Service). As below, if you choose to withdraw from the research, all your data will be deleted at that point.

How will my data be used and shared?

The project findings will be published in a range of outputs, including project reports, academic journals and conference papers, and industry and practitioner publications. This may include publication on websites and dissemination via mainstream or social media. Individual survey respondents will not be identifiable in any outputs from the project. However we may wish to publicise organisational good practice, so organisation names will be retained but only used publicly with the express permission of participants.

Queen Mary’s privacy notice for research participants

Please read Queen Mary’s privacy notice for research participants containing important information about your personal data and your rights in this respect. If you have any questions relating to data protection, please contact Queen Mary’s Data Protection Officer, Queens’ Building, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS or or 020 7882 7596.

What will happen if I want to withdraw from this study?

Participants can withdraw their participation in this research at any time without providing a reason. If you choose to withdraw, we will destroy all data you provided in response to the survey, along all your personal data. This will include any data analysed and written up, unless the data has already been published externally and may not be withdrawn. To withdraw participation, please inform the research team by email to:

What should I do if I have any questions or concerns about this study?

If you have any questions or concerns about the manner in which the study was conducted please, in the first instance, contact the researcher(s) responsible for the study by email to:,  If you have a complaint which you feel you cannot discuss with the researchers then you should contact the Research Ethics Facilitators by e-mail: When contacting the Research Ethics Facilitators, please provide details of the name, description the study and QMERC reference number (where possible), the researcher(s) involved, and details of the complaint you wish to make.