Social procurement planning and tactics

Find out what promotes social procurement success and the organisations that can support you.

Strategic planning for social procurement

This framework establishes a requirement for departments and agencies to develop organisation-wide Social Procurement Strategies. These need to support policy, practice and capability development for staff, suppliers and supply chains. The flexible application of this framework within existing procurement practice seeks to ensure that social procurement is embedded in ordinary government business, with minimal burden on buyers or suppliers.

Tactics to drive social procurement

The framework also promotes the use of best practice sourcing tactics to drive social procurement. Depending on the size, expenditure category, and level of opportunity and risk, there are several tactics that can be applied. Some of the more common approaches are highlighted in the following table.

Table 5 - Social procurement sourcing tactics

Social procurement sourcing tacticsDescription
Bundle Increasing the size and scope of a procurement to enable a social or sustainable solution.
Unbundle Decreasing the size and scope of a project/contract where social enterprises, Australian Disability Enterprises or Aboriginal businesses in the supply market do not have the capacity to meet scope.
Evaluation criteria or targets for delivering social value Asking all businesses to demonstrate impact, while communicating to the market the importance placed on social value.
Evaluation criteria or targets for subcontracting Higher value contracts can require or encourage suppliers to incorporate social enterprises, Australian Disability Enterprises or Aboriginal businesses in their supply chain.
Expressions of interest When there is limited knowledge of how social impact could be addressed or there is a desire to encourage innovation from the supply market.
Partnerships Creates long-term opportunities for innovation around shared social and sustainable objectives, including partnering with private sector and support organisations or strategic matching of social enterprise, ADE or Aboriginal business supplier capability with a pipeline of work.
Supplier relationship management Relationships and structured supplier relationship management processes enabling engagement with existing long-term suppliers to explore opportunities to strengthen the delivery of social objectives.
Targeted panels Using panels as an opportunity to encourage and enable market participation by social enterprises, Australian Disability Enterprises and Aboriginal businesses.
Targeted sourcing Allowing direct sourcing from known social enterprises, Australian Disability Enterprises and Aboriginal businesses with demonstrated capability. Initially, this might apply to lower value procurements as sector capability develops.

Social procurement partners and support agencies

The Victorian Government works collaboratively with partners and supporting agencies to:

  • develop buyer and supplier capability;
  • support suppliers with recruiting, pre-employment, on-the-job training and mentoring; and
  • connect buyers to certified social enterprises and certified Aboriginal businesses.

The Victorian Government’s current social procurement partnerships include:

  • Kinaway – the Victorian Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce supports Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs. Through policy, advocacy, and representation services, Kinaway seeks to grow the capacity of the Aboriginal business sector, entrepreneurs, and Aboriginal business leadership in Victoria. In doing so, it aims to have a positive and direct influence in increasing economic participation by the Aboriginal community and its contribution to the Victorian economy. Kinaway is developing and will maintain a directory of Victorian Aboriginal businesses to further support and promote the sector.
  • Social Traders – Australia’s leading organisation that connects social enterprise with social procurement opportunities. Through certification and an annual buyer membership, Social Traders links business and government buyers with social enterprise and aims to create 1,500 jobs for disadvantaged Australians by 2021.
  • Supply Nation – the Australian leader in Indigenous supplier diversity, established in 2009 to connect its membership of Australia’s leading government agencies and corporates with 1450 Indigenous businesses across the country. Supply Nation’s rigorous registration and certification processes ensure members can be confident of Indigenous ownership. Supply Nation has a team of specialist consultants across Australia working intensively with Government and Corporate organisations to embed supplier diversity into their supply chains.

Support and development for Victorian priority jobseekers

The Government’s existing employment, inclusion and training programs will help support suppliers to find, employ and train Victorian priority jobseekers.

The Government established Jobs Victoria to provide a comprehensive approach to supporting job seekers at risk of being left behind. Jobs Victoria is supported by arrangements with leading organisations in the community sector and private sector employers.

Social enterprises, TAFEs and other training providers play a significant role in offering disadvantaged and high needs Victorians the skills they need to be job-ready now and in the future. The Government will seek to ensure that training and skills gaps are identified and addressed on an ongoing basis and the training and TAFE system’s role to deliver government and community benefits are acknowledged.

The Government recognises the distinct role that TAFEs have, as public providers who partner with industry and Government on key economic priorities, in leading the training system in excellence and innovation, providing essential life skills and support services, and helping disadvantaged students and communities.

Examples of social procurement in action

G21 GROW Program - Regional programs achieving local and social outcomes

G21 GROW is a joint regional initiative between the Give Where You Live Foundation and the G21 – Geelong Regional Alliance. Together with partners across the government, private, community and philanthropic sectors, GROW’s primary focus is on creating job opportunities specifically benefiting the most disadvantaged in the region’s community. GROW has developed and implemented a social procurement framework that is driving increased local and social procurement.

This is a long-term strategy to deliver employment opportunities through the delivery of specific projects. The Year One (2015-16) Report Card on the Program was released in May 2017 and the outcomes from the first 18 Compact signatories included:

  • 72 employment outcomes for GROW target communities, including traineeships and apprenticeships; and
  • a 9.34 per cent shift to local procurement, or $23.88 million into the region (which equates to 145 jobs).
  • There are now 70 Compact signatories from across all types of sectors working on GROW action plans.

Social Traders - Creating jobs through social enterprise

Social Traders supports the Victorian Government in delivering on the Victorian Social Enterprise Strategy by:

1. Certifying social enterprises that meet the criteria (as outlined in the Social Enterprise Strategy) and offering services to support the growth and impact of business-to-business enterprises. Specifically, Social Traders provides social enterprises with:

  • the ability to be recognised as a social enterprise and share best practice and challenges with other social enterprise procurement leaders; and
  • a range of tailored support for Social Traders certified social enterprises to scale, grow and successfully deliver on the contracts they win.

2. Helping to put social enterprises into supply chains by making introductions, hosting networking events, and working with business and government buyers to update their tender processes to open new opportunities for social enterprises. Specifically, Social Traders provides buyers with:

  • support to identify suitable providers from a database of approximately 200 certified social enterprises (of which more than 100 are based or operating in Victoria) to all staff employed by the Victorian Government; and
  • the ability to track and report on the social impact of social procurement expenditure (e.g. number of jobs created for disadvantaged communities).

Tools and support

This content on this page is taken from Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework. Access a PDF version in the social procurement document library.

For more information about social procurement, please contact the Social Procurement team.