Social Procurement and New Public Governance: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Social Procurement and New Public Governance

1st Edition

By Josephine Barraket, Robyn Keast, Craig Furneaux


160 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415858557
pub: 2015-11-12
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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.


'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

Table of Contents

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

About the Authors

Jo Barraket is Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Impact Swinburne at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia.

Robyn Keast is Professor and Chair of the Collaborative Research Network: Policy and Planning for Regional Sustainability, Southern Cross University, Australia.

Craig Furneaux is Lecturer at The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Non-profit Studies, Queensland University of Technology, Australia.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Public Management

The study and practice of public management has undergone profound changes across the world. Over the last quarter century, we have seen

  • the increasing criticism of public administration as the over-arching framework for the provision of public services
  • the rise (and critical appraisal) of the ‘New Public Management’ as an emergent paradigm for the provision of public services
  • the transformation of the ‘public sector’ into the cross-sectoral provision of public services
  • the growth of the governance of inter-organizational relationships as an essential element in the provision of public services

In reality these trends have not so much replaced each other as elided or co-existed together – the public policy process has not gone away as a legitimate topic of study, intra-organizational management continues to be essential to the efficient provision of public services, whist the governance of inter-organizational and inter-sectoral relationships is now essential to the effective provision of these services.

This series is dedicated to presenting and critiquing this important body of theory and empirical study. It will publish books that both explore and evaluate the emergent and developing nature of public administration, management and governance (in theory and practice) and examine the relationship with and contribution to the over-arching disciplines of management and organizational sociology. Books in the series will be of interest to academics and researchers in this field, students undertaking advanced studies, and reflective policy makers and practitioners.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Accounting / Governmental
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Business Ethics
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Production & Operations Management
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Affairs & Administration