Strengthening social outcomes in 2022-23

Working with buyers to ensure appropriate social and sustainable commitments are implemented in procurements.

The DGS Social Procurement and Assurance team supports the effective delivery of the Framework across the Victorian Government and its supply chain, by working with project teams across government to ensure appropriate social and sustainable targets are implemented in high-value procurements. The number of Victorian Government projects valued at $20 million or more that were engaged by the team during the procurement process almost doubled from 53 in FY2021–22 to 98 in FY2022–23.

Collaborating with the project teams at the early stages of the procurement to identify opportunities optimises the outcomes that can be achieved. For example, the team recently collaborated with a government agency when procuring the construction of fit for purposes buildings which resulted in an additional economic value5 of $5.2 million for the Victorian community committed in the contract. This comprised spend with social benefit suppliers and employment of priority jobseekers.

During the 2022–23 financial year, there were several changes in the social procurement context which influenced the way the Framework is being implemented. These changes reflect a growing maturity across business and government in generating social and sustainable outcomes through procurement and more broadly.

Changing policy context

From 1 December 2022, all Victorian Government agencies are required to apply the Fair Jobs Code (the Code) to all tenders of $3 million or more. The Code enables the Government to use its purchasing power to promote secure employment and fair labour standards as well as ensure compliance with employment, workplace and industrial laws. The Code now captures the requirements under the Framework’s Opportunities for Safe and Fair Workplaces objective. 

More information is available on the Fair Jobs Code section of the Buying for Victoria website.

The Federal Government amended the Fair Work Act 2009 so that from 1 February 2023 all employees are entitled to 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave each year. This includes full-time, part-time and casual employees. The change means that all tenderers should already provide family and domestic violence leave for their employees. This change by the Federal Government addresses the family violence leave outcome from the Women’s Equality and Safety objective.

A review of how these new policies affect the Framework is underway to consider if any consequential updates to the Framework are required.

Continuous improvement of policy implementation

To keep pace with the evolving and maturing social benefit supplier sector, the Social Procurement and Assurance team refined the reporting criteria for identifying in-scope social benefit suppliers for social procurement expenditure reporting. This enhancement targets social benefit suppliers certified as of 30 June 2023 for inclusion in reporting. It also provides greater assurance to Victorian Government buyers and suppliers that expenditure with these suppliers is creating genuine impact.

5: Additional value when compared to a similar project where the Assurance team was not involved. The value of employment for priority jobseekers has been calculated using the Australian Social Value Bank.