Maximising the Potential of Social Procurement

Project team

Melbourne Law School Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law
Melbourne Law School Construction Law

Project summary

Social procurement and Indigenous procurement initiatives are on the increase at commonwealth, state and local government level in Australia.

Two key examples are the Victorian Government’s Social Procurement Framework, which commenced in 2018, and the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy, introduced in 2015.

Social procurement is when an organisation uses its purchasing power to generate social benefits, particularly around the creation of jobs, often targeted at those disadvantaged in the labour market, the stimulation of local industries, and the encouragement of environmental sustainability. Indigenous procurement is specifically targeted at supporting Indigenous-owned enterprises and the training and employment of Indigenous workers.

As our government departments and agencies at federal, state and local levels are the largest purchaser of goods, services and construction projects in Australia, the potential for public expenditure to improve social and economic outcomes through social and Indigenous procurement is extremely significant. This is evidenced by the role that social procurement is playing in stimulating economic and social recovery from the recent Australian bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

MSoG is creating partnerships with government agencies, NGOs and industry to improve the uptake and impact of social procurement initiatives. This program of work will assist government departments and agencies through:

  • program evaluation
  • research on measuring the value and impact of social procurement programs, optimal design of social procurement criteria, contracts and implementation mechanisms, and the impact of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth ) on procurement
  • co-design of social procurement pilots and trials
  • providing recommendations for improvement of existing programs or program expansion
  • development of education and training programs

For this project, a multidisciplinary approach is needed to take into account the social, environmental and economic aspects of social procurement. To support this, MSoG will bring in expertise across a number of faculties and schools at the University depending on the project.

There is potential for the findings from this program of work to be adopted by other jurisdictions and countries, as well as across all levels of government.

More information

For more information on this project please contact Professor John Howe: