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Wales’ largest public sector bodies commit to Buy Social

If you had any doubts that socially responsible procurement was a real possibility, look no further than Wales.

The Welsh public sector has made a positive commitment to buying social value and where Wales goes, England will soon follow - think tax on supermarket plastic bags.

The big thing to bear in mind is that if the public sector want to buy social value, suppliers will need to prove that they are supplying it. For help and advice on how to capture, record and manage social value contact CERT Consultancy

Transport for Wales, Development Bank of Wales, Public Health Wales, NHS Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) are working with Social Business Connect to look at ways it can increase its spend with social businesses and embed social value across its major contracts.

All five organisations will be raising awareness of the Buy Social for a Better World campaign this week (w/c 7th October), which is being backed by Welsh actor and patron of Social Enterprise UK, Michael Sheen.

Social enterprises are businesses set up reinvest the money they make back into their social or environmental cause. There are over 2,000 of these businesses in Wales contributing an estimated £3 billion to the Welsh economy (£60 billion to the UK economy) and employing around 55,000 people.

Social Business Connect from the Wales Co-operative Centre is a commercial consultancy service to support organisations in the development of their supply chains in order to trade with the social business sector.

Rhian Edwards, lead consultant for Social Business Connect said:

“Wales is entering its most challenging period in decades. Our post-industrial and rural communities once the power house of the local economy have suffered years of decline and under investment. That’s where social business comes alive. Social businesses are anchored in their communities and any investment stays in the community and is used for wider economic and social benefits. While they often operate in hard to reach, economically challenged communities they employ more people relative to turnover than other businesses.”

Sarah Jane Waith, Head of Supply Chain & Contract Management at Transport for Wales said:

“At Transport for Wales we have a real opportunity to increase the social and environmental impact of our procurement and help to scale up the social business sector in Wales. There is still a perception out there that social businesses don’t have the resources or skills set to deliver on the outputs required of these major public sector contracts but they couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Giles Thorley, Chief Executive at the Development Bank of Wales said:

“What will be evident from this week’s Buy Social campaign is that the social business sector is growing right across our economy and scaling quickly. They are not only delivering vital services and jobs where people need them, they are helping businesses meet the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Wales Act.”

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