Public Procurement Must Prioritise Community Benefit Says Social Enterprise Scotland

Posted: 06 February 2012, in Press Release

Date: Monday 6 February 2012
Embargo: Immediate
Contact: Duncan Thorp 0131 243 2654 / 07501 221 581

Public procurement must
prioritise community benefit says Social Enterprise Scotland

Responding to The Scottish Government news about procurement reform and the release of the Jimmy Reid Foundation report today (Using Our Buying Power to Benefit Scotland), Social Enterprise Scotland has called for community benefit to be a priority in all public procurement.

The body representing social enterprises also called for more local and partnership working to enable social enterprises to win contracts. This call also comes before the local council elections on 3 May, where Social Enterprise Scotland will be campaigning on community benefits.

Fraser Kelly, Acting Chief Executive of Social Enterprise Scotland, said:

“Public procurement reform is something that Social Enterprise Scotland has campaigned hard on for the past few years. We’re pleased that The Scottish Government has taken on board our views, particularly with regards to Community Benefit clauses and access to and transparency of government contracts.

“Social enterprise suppliers are a central part of the public procurement reform programme, working closely with government and business to ensure that opportunities are maximised for third sector suppliers. We’re encouraged with progress, though there is still a lot of work to do to level the playing field further.

“The forthcoming Sustainable Procurement Bill must emphasise the innovative and central role of Scotland’s local social enterprises in delivering community benefit. More contracts should be awarded and delivered in Scotland, with social businesses working together to win a share of the annual £9bn a year in public procurement.”

Social Enterprise Scotland is an independent, Scottish and member-led organisation, built and controlled by social enterprises across the country.


Notes to Editors:

1. The Scottish Government news story “Public sector procurement reform” is here:

2. What is social enterprise? Social enterprises are businesses that trade specifically for social and/or environmental purposes. Social enterprises exist to make a profit just like any private sector business. However, instead of paying dividends to share holders, profits are reinvested into social and environmental purposes. Without making a profit, social enterprises cannot meet their objectives; they must trade, to be sustainable. The more profit made, the more can be invested in the purpose. This more-than-profit approach is used by, for example: Co-operatives and mutuals, Credit Unions, Housing Associations, Social Firms, Development Trusts and Community Interest Companies (CICs), operating in every corner of Scotland and in every sector of the economy.

3. What examples are there? Hebridean Chocolates (Stornoway), The Big Issue, Kibble (Paisley), The Engine Shed (Edinburgh), The Wise Group (Glasgow), Aberdeen Foyer, Bookdonors (Scottish Borders), Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus, Centre of Health and Wellbeing, Link Group Ltd (Edinburgh), Impact Arts, Skye Permaculture Ltd, Institute of Local Television, mediaco-op and North Glasgow Housing Association.

4. What is Social Enterprise Scotland? We are the national collective voice for social enterprise in Scotland. We bring together social enterprises and their supporters into a strong campaigning force, to represent the full range of social enterprises. We raise the profile of social enterprise as a dynamic business model, champion the values and benefits of social enterprise to a broad range of stakeholders and represent the needs and views of social enterprise to policy and decision-makers in Scotland. We are an independent and Scottish membership-led organisation. Membership is open to all social enterprises, their networks and intermediaries and supporters.