Public sector procurement is set to play an increasingly crucial role in helping communities to recover from the coronavirus crisis’ social and economic fall-out, Fusion21’s annual Procurement Trends research has found.
The Fusion21 Procurement Trends Report 2020, which was launched at HOMES UK last week, found that procurement professionals want to use their relationships with contractors and suppliers to secure the kind of social value that will make a real impact on communities.
More than 100 procurement officers, managers and directors — representing the housing, local authority, education, health and blue light sectors — took part in in the third annual Fusion21 Procurement Trends Survey, which ran throughout July 2020.
Over half (56%) of participants believed social value had become a more important part of their work during the previous 12 months, with the report demonstrating a huge shift in terms of the types of social value being pursued by procurement teams.
This year, more than two thirds (69%) of professionals who participated in Fusion21’s research believed social value through procurement would be used to generate local economy benefits; this was a sharp rise on 30% who said the same last year.
More than two thirds (70%) said they would focus on generating skills and employment opportunities — a huge increase on 39% last year.
In 2019, only 11% said their social value activities would deliver health and wellbeing benefits; this year, however, health and wellbeing were being prioritised by nearly a third (30%) of procurement professionals.
Fusion21 began its yearly Procurement Trends research in 2018, when the vast majority of those took part (83%) said The Public Services (Social Value) Act, which came into force in 2013, had been influential in terms of ensuring their organisation considers social value when awarding contracts to contractors and suppliers.
Now, as local communities deal with the social and economic impact of the pandemic, procurement professionals are using their ability to work directly with local businesses, and to generate social value through contracts, in order to ensure their organisations’ spending power aids local recoveries.
Andrew Gray, Member Relationship Manager at Fusion21, said: “The next 12 months are set to be hugely challenging for public sector organisations and the communities they serve. Procurement teams are going to play an important role in making decisions that will lead to the continued delivery of services and create the kind of social value that will make a real difference.
“At Fusion21, we’ve been listening to what is most important to our members, and in response, we’ve changed the way we approach social value to provide a more local offer, allowing our members to choose from a number of options for investing in their communities.”