As a Housing Association, your procurement processes have the power to create genuine and lasting social change. Chances are, you already have a policy for social value procurement gathering dust somewhere – but are you actually implementing it?
All too often, key procurement decisions are made based on economic value, without considering the impact on people and the planet. However, embedding social value in your procurement can further the opportunities for your social value strategy to make meaningful change.
Social procurement is about making intentional positive contributions through your supply chain.
Housing Associations play a vital role in local communities and have a real opportunity to improve living conditions and create opportunities in the areas they operate. Aligning your social procurement policy to local issues and, where possible, working with local suppliers and recruiting local employees can make a big difference, and should form a key part of your framework.
Start by discussing with existing suppliers and contractors to understand what social value they are delivering, and if they have a social value strategy in place. Make sure you include clear guidance as to what you require in terms of added social value in your contracts and set performance targets for social value which can be monitored throughout the contract.
Think Customer First
A social procurement framework can help meet your residents’ priorities and create greater customer satisfaction if you can measure and communicate the impact you have achieved. This will ensure your social procurement framework is a living policy and not just another box ticking exercise.
Measure What Matters
When developing your social procurement objectives, consider what your organisation is aiming to do in the community, and align that mission to how you purchase and what you expect from your suppliers. This may include their policies on (and commitment to) sustainability, equal opportunities or community development for example.
Embedding social procurement shows your commitment to social value and embeds your responsibility throughout your organisation. To have a meaningful impact, you need to be able to measure and monitor what’s working.
When developing your social procurement framework, set objectives aligned to your priorities, which will help you understand how much value the framework is adding.
You are already purchasing goods and services so you already have some framework for deciding how and what to buy. By reflecting on the criteria you use to make those decisions and embedding social value, you can build systems into your organisation, which provide an opportunity to create meaningful social impact.