As the result of SIB’s remit on advice and development work the continued development of Buy Social has become a political expectation.
‘Buy Social’ is a tool to maximise the benefits from the £2.6 billion spend on public procurement. It specifically addresses key quality of life indicators such as: personal wellbeing, social cohesion and inclusion, equal opportunities and sustainable development.
The Executive is committed to achieving the maximum social value from public sector investment and procurements. Buy Social is included in the letter of expectation from the First & deputy First Minister which mandates SIB to continue to work with Departments and other key stakeholders to develop and extend the Buy Social approach.
Prior to 2019, one of the primary ways social value was achieved through public procurement in Northern Ireland was through Targeted Recruitment and Training (TR&T). TR&T requires contractors to provide a proportion of the total employment on the contract to people who have no substantial work experience (such as school or college leavers) or people who are long-term unemployed.
Since 2019, the Buy Social Unit have developed other social considerations to target economic inactivity and maximise social value. These initiatives can include; work placements, skills development, support for Voluntary, Community, Social Enterprise organisations, business in education activities and digital inclusion projects.
SIB champions Buy Social across the public sector by assisting public bodies to design, implement and monitor social consideration clauses included in public contracts.
The Buy Social Unit have dedicated Development Officers who are able to work with public bodies to provide expert advice on maximising the social value delivered by public procurement, in line with the Contracting Authority’s strategic priorities, from the earliest stage of the project.
For further information contact:
Mary McKee Strategic Adviser Social Regeneration