The Queensland Government has launched an initiative to grow the state’s social enterprise sector with an injection to the tune of more than $1 million.
Under the announcement, the Palaszczuk Government committed to “make it easier” for social enterprises to supply to government in a partnership with national certifier Social Traders.
The Queensland Government spends $14 billion in goods and services and $5 billion on infrastructure.
Social procurement is the topic of frequent debates and head scratching when it comes to measurement. The announcement comes as Standards Australia consults on a national resource to help buyers navigate measurement impact of social procurement.
With World Social Enterprise Day as a PR backdrop, Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the government wants to ensure social enterprises “score a larger slice” of its annual investment.
Ms Farmer said the initiative with Social Traders was part of the Queensland Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
“Improving access to procurement opportunities has the potential to open so many doors for Queensland’s social enterprises,” Ms Farmer said.
“We know they deliver positive impacts in their communities while contributing to the economy, and that’s why we want to support them in every way we can.”
‘Build capacity’ of government buyers
The Queensland Government has rattled the tin with $660,000 to build the capability of government buyers and extending access to the Social Traders Portal, which lists certified social enterprises.
In a further nod to the sector, an additional $385,000 has been provided to the Queensland Social Enterprise Council (QSEC).
This is to help QSEC raise the profile of social enterprises to the private sector and for regional development activities.
Furthermore, $100,000 has been committed to sponsoring the 2022 Social Enterprise World Forum, to be held in Brisbane.
Standards: A World first for social procurement
Standards Australia is now seeking consultation on the ‘Measuring Social Value – guidance on approach and methodologies’ handbook – touted as the first national standard document on social value in the world.
The absence of a national standardised framework or definition on social value is creating fragmented market and approach to measuring social value, Standards Australia says.
Huber Social, in consultation with committee members including Oxford University, has drafted the handbook and consultation closes on 3 December 2021. It aims “to achieve a common understanding of social value on a national level and to assist decision-makers in ensuring their approach to social value measurement is fit-for-purpose.”
Huber Social CEO Georgina Camp said social value was increasingly informing decisions across the procurement landscape.
“Social value as a measure is increasingly informing decisions across government budgets, procurement, policy development, legislation, private sector investment portfolios, and everyday decision making about what we buy, where we work, and who we vote for,” Ms Camp said.
The state and territory social procurement landscape
In recent years, there’s been a growing trend of Australian governments introducing broad social and sustainable procurement policy initiatives –two of which announced this year.
Similar to the Queensland Government’s partnership, NSW penned a deal with Social Traders last year, following the Victorian Government’s agreement penned in 2019. The Western Australian Government firmed its position with social procurement, launching its Social Procurement Framework in June 2021 and legislation. The ACT government in January this year introduced a Charter of Procurement Values.