Research paper explores promise of social procurement

22 April 2021 Read social procurement paper

Parliamentary Library Fellow Maria Mupanemunda discusses her research on social procurement.

A research paper on the promise of social procurement has been published by the Victorian Parliamentary Library.

Produced by Victorian Parliamentary Library Fellow Maria Mupanemunda, the paper argues that the Victorian government and business could help create more jobs for disadvantaged jobseekers through greater use of ‘social procurement’ policies.

'Social procurement provides an unmissable opportunity to help disadvantaged jobseekers in Victoria recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,' said Maria Mupanemunda, a Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) social policy researcher undertaking the Parliamentary Library Fellowship.

Social procurement is the process through which public and private sector organisations use their purchasing power to generate positive social, economic and environmental benefit.

'With governments set to ramp up spending to help speed Victoria’s economic recovery, now is a great time to be thinking about how social procurement can be useful in helping to address some of the worst employment impacts of the pandemic,' she said. Victoria adopted a ‘social procurement framework’ in 2018.

The paper outlines a wide range of benefits that flow from social procurement, including creating training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged jobseekers such as young people, people with disability and people from migrant and refugee backgrounds; improving supply chain diversity; supporting Victoria’s social enterprise sector; and increasing workplace diversity and inclusion.

'This is a really valuable paper,' said Nazih Elasmar, President of the Legislative Council. 'It will assist the Parliament and the community in thinking about how we can use our resources strategically to help some of those hardest hit by this pandemic.'

The paper suggests that, while the future of Victoria’s social procurement landscape looks promising, a number of key issues require further deliberation if such policies are to successfully connect jobseekers experiencing disadvantage with decent employment opportunities.

'Our Parliamentary Library Fellowship supports the work of parliamentarians by giving them access to research on issues of increasing relevance within our community,' said Colin Brooks, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

'This latest research paper prepared as part of our fellowship program will assist all of us better understand the use of social procurement and its significance for many people across Victoria,' he said.

The research paper is available from the Victorian Parliament’s website. The research for this fellowship is part of a broader partnership between the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Outlook Victoria and McAuley Community Services for Women.

'The parliamentary fellowship recognised the expertise of community based social policy researcher Maria Mupanemunda, enabling her to further advance BSL’s work on social procurement, which provides practical paths into employment for disadvantaged jobseekers who would otherwise be locked out,' said BSL’s Executive Director, Conny Lenneberg.

Examples of Victorian social enterprises include:

  • Outlook Environmental, which specialises in the provision of waste management and has grown to become one of the largest providers of waste transport and processing services to large infrastructure projects in Victoria
  • BSL’s Given the Chance Social Enterprise which employs disadvantaged jobseekers and places them with host employer partners such as Boral, Fulton Hogan, John Holland and CPB.