Introducing the Social Procurement in Construction Guide


Update: the guide is now available to download for free here On the 23rd of September, Supply Change will be launching the Social Procurement in Construction Guide. The guide takes readers through the policy context, strategies for implementing social procurement and how to ensure your impact is accurately measured. Social procurement consultant and co-author of the guide, Julie Youngman has recorded this introduction to the guide and an overview of its content.


Access the guide for free here


Video transcription


Hello from New Zealand. It’s my absolute pleasure to be able to introduce to you the social procurement guide. But before I do that I’ll just quickly introduce myself. I’m Julie Youngman and I’ve been working in social procurement for the past four years, creating the first social procurement programme here in New Zealand that works to connect buyers and social enterprise suppliers and identify opportunities for more impact creation through procurement. That’s really what’s formed the basis for this guide. Lots and lots of research into international studies, examples and best practice, along with my experience in impact consultancy and social procurement.


Let’s talk more about the guide because it comes at a really exciting time. At the start of this year the UK government implemented some legislation changes to the Social Value Act that mean that organisations bidding for central government contracts now have to show how they will implement, measure and report on social value. The opportunity for impact is massive because the UK’s public sector currently spends more than £290 billion annually on goods and services.


The Social Procurement in Construction Guide was created in partnership with:

The construction and infrastructure sectors are more important than ever, especially in light of the COVID pandemic and the priority to build back greener. The requirements to think about and implement social procurement won’t just be part of delivering public sector contracts there will be a ripple effect out into the private sector as well. That’s why it’s so important to put the right systems and practices in place now to do social procurement effectively.


The Social Procurement in Construction Guide is designed to be as practical as possible. We cover some of the barriers and risks; both the perceived and the real ones that are associated with social procurement and offer recommendations on how to overcome them. We then talk about social procurement, which can be complex and intimidating but there are really just a number of main steps included in the process:

  • opportunity analysis

  • creating an impact strategy

  • engaging with suppliers.

"The opportunity for impact is massive because the UK’s public sector currently spends more than £290 billion annually on goods and services."

First we have to identify opportunities for social procurement as part of a project. The best way to do that is to analyse your spend and the market. We take you through how best to do that. Then the guide takes you through an approach you can take to form your impact strategy. We give guidance on how to create an impact framework and how to measure and manage your impact. Last but not least we talk about supplier engagement and how to make the procurement process as accessible as and inclusive for impact-driven suppliers as possible.


This guide was written with both buyers and suppliers in mind. For buyers the guide offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide for how to set your project up for success from the start, in terms of social procurement that is, and includes helpful information on how to get internal and external stakeholders onboard. For suppliers valuable insight into how buyers approach procurement processes and some helpful tips on how to respond to tenders. Suppliers will also need to measure and report their impact, which makes the impact strategy section of the guide and important read for you as well.


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The main takeaway is that social procurement is basically procurement with one important additional aspect and that’s of course impact. It’s still the purchase of goods and services but with the intention of generating positive social and environmental impact. The world is facing some pretty major global challenges at the moment and if we can direct even some procurement spend, which is money being spent regardless, even if we can direct just a portion of that procurement spend towards making positive changes that’s a huge opportunity to accelerate some of the efforts to finding solutions for some of those issues. Construction and infrastructure projects in particular, they are often centred around cities, towns, communities so here is a big opportunity to work with impact-driven and local suppliers to effect positive change.


I just want to say a big thank you to the team at Supply Change and the sponsors for making this project happen. Read the guide and get started on or continue your social procurement journey.

Contact us to discuss the simplest route to social procurement for your organisation. Our team will get back to you within two working days to arrange an initial call.