In recent years, the search for innovative, locally relevant and engaging public service has become the new philosophers’ stone. Social procurement represents one approach to maximising public spending and social value through the purchase of goods and services. It has gained increasing attention in recent years as a way that governments and corporations can amplify the benefits of their purchasing power, and as a mechanism by which markets for social enterprise and other third sector organisations can be grown.
Despite growing policy and practitioner interest in social procurement, there has been relatively little conceptual or empirical thinking published on the issue. Taking a critically informed approach, this innovative text examines emerging approaches to social procurement within the context of New Public Governance (NPG), and examines the practices of social procurement across Europe, North America, and Australia.
Considering both the possibilities and limitations of social procurement, and the types of value it can generate, it also provides empirically-driven insights into the practicalities of ‘triple bottom line’ procurement, the related challenges of measuring social value and the management of both the strategic and operational dimensions of procurement processes. As such it will be invaluable reading for all those interested in social services, public governance and social enterprise.
1. Introduction 2. Socio-economic and Political Drivers of Social Procurement 3. Historical and Contemporary Developments in Social Procurement 4. Institutional and Resource Enablers of Social Procurement 5. Social Procurement and the Corporate Sector 6. Governing Beyond Government: Third sector and next practice networks 7. Assessing and Measuring Social Value 8. Theoretical Implications and Practical Portents 9. Conclusion
'The make-buy decision has been central to questions of organising and the pursuit of efficiency since Coase set out the Theory of the Firm in 1937. In recent times, however, we have come to care more about how we make or buy, and with whom we engage to do so. This comprehensive new book provides an in-depth and up-to-date analysis of social procurement, delving deep into the multiple perspectives and foundations of how procurement matters, and the social outcomes that can be achieved when we use procurement to make a difference.' - Janine O’Flynn, Professor, The University of Melbourne, Australia
'In one of the most comprehensive texts on social procurement to date, Barraket, Keast, and Furneaux provide a thorough exploration of this expanding trend that stretches across government, civil society, and for-profit sectors. Combining country comparisons, theoretical insights, and boundary analysis, they offer a unique inside look at the possibilities and challenges of this much understudied avenue to social value creation.' – Janelle A. Kerlin, Associate Professor, Georgia State University, USA
'This book provides us at last with a thorough analysis of commissioning, purchasing and procurement from the perspectives of social procurement, social value and public value. Combining theoretical and practical insights, it will be invaluable for researchers and practitioners alike.' - Tony Bovaird, Emeritus Professor, The University of Birmingham, UK