Social Procurement Demands Data

January 31, 2021
Procurement

Ian Makgill

Social value is going to be a critical feature of public procurement in the coming years. The urge to ‘build back better’ will quickly alight on the $13tn of public procurement expenditure, seeing it as an opportunity to meld policy and delivery in a pragmatic way.

We have recently seen the Canadian government establish a preferential policy for minority owned businesses, something that has been a common feature of both US federal procurement and South African procurement for many years.

Social value covers a full spectrum of challenges, from prompt payment of suppliers, slavery and living wages in the supply chain, carbon emissions to payment of taxes and local employment. It is likely that buyers are going to want to know a great deal more about the businesses they buy from before they purchase.

This presents a challenge: how to differentiate between a company that meets the policy requirements and one that might be seeking to gerrymander their credentials. This is only the start, buyers also need to make sure that any changes in status and performance are recorded during the contract.

The need for better data could turn into a significant bureaucratic burden, unless they’re able to develop a plan for the data they intend to gather, how they plan to gather it and what they will do to keep it up to date. Understanding procurement and the procedures behind the data really matters, but it is impossible to implement a social value initiative without good data.

To find out more about how we can help governments to build useful procurement data services, get in touch.

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