May 29, 2019 | Deirdre Diamante
The Victorian government’s Social Procurement Framework is a policy that introduces new government procurement criteria to encourage businesses to increase the social value and inclusion of their work, and to reward and recognise businesses that support their communities.
Its overall objectives are to harness the power of government procurement to drive genuine and lasting social, economic and environmental outcomes that create more inclusive growth to benefit the whole Victorian community.
At the heart of the Social Procurement Framework are 10 social and sustainable objectives:
These are described in more detail in Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework: Building a fair, inclusive and sustainable Victoria through procurement (PDF).
Government can achieve some of these social and sustainable procurement objectives by purchasing directly from a social benefit supplier such as a Victorian social enterprise, an aboriginal business or an Australian disability enterprise.
Many of these objectives can also be met by government purchasing from suppliers who, in turn, deliver against social and sustainable outcomes through tenders and quotations. For example, suppliers who incorporate Aboriginal businesses, social enterprises and Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) into the supply chain or directly provide opportunities for disadvantaged Victorians.
As a procurement policy, the framework introduces additional considerations for businesses that do not already have a social benefit focus, that wish to work with the Victorian government through the procurement process. Where directed, businesses will need to incorporate the objectives of the framework in business offerings and bidding practices to maximise the chances of winning and retaining government contracts.
The Social Procurement Framework is flexible, so there are only a few mandatory requirements that are relevant to suppliers:
However, it is very important that suppliers understand that in any procurement, regardless of value, Victorian government buyers will be encouraged to incorporate social procurement requirements or objectives.
When you look at a tender or quote you will begin to see questions and evaluation criteria asking suppliers what practices or policies they have to meet social procurement objectives. For example:
Tips to get ready to respond to Questions on Social Procurement:
Implementation of Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework can also offer new opportunities in how a business can be run and products and services that can be delivered.
From a tendering perspective, it also offers businesses another way to differentiate themselves. Business can show they are committed, like the government, to truly sustainable social change and inclusive growth, while still representing strong value for money.
Deirdre Diamante is the founder and director of Mia Consulting Services. With 15 years of experience in government procurement and governance roles, Deirdre has intimate knowledge of public sector procurement environments, making her a sought-after advisor by commercial and public sector organisations alike.
Mia helps companies of all sizes grow government sales through effective engagement, and also works closely with government to implement industry and procurement programs. Deirdre also serves as Chair of the Victorian Council of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), Chair and co-founder of the #TechDiversity Foundation, and convenor of the #TechDiversity Awards.