Middleton backs new law to safeguard social procurement

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DUP MLA Gary Middleton says he would support a new Social Value Act to ensure public procurement in Londonderry primarily benefits social enterprises intent on putting something back into the community rather than profit-making firms who come in, get it done, and then clear off with the money in their carpet bags.

He made the pledge as part of Social Value Week, an initiative of the Social Enterprise Northern Ireland organisation.

Mr Middleton said there is a need to prioritise the further growth of the Social Enterprise sector as a key feature of the new Programme for Government.

“I pledge my full support to Social Value Week, and Social Enterprise NI’s Manifesto, in calling on the Executive –and those responsible for procuring public services to commission for maximum social value.

“This should be a key feature in the next Programme for Government,” said Mr Middleton.

Chris Gordon, Director of Social Enterprise NI said: “Social enterprise is gathering momentum here in Northern Ireland.

“We are calling on Government to play its part, through co-design and testing new approaches to public service delivery, and by truly commissioning for greatest social value.

“A Social Value Act should be considered as an important vehicle to unlock social enterprise’s potential”.

Social Enterprise NI –the representative body for social enterprises across Northern Ireland –launched Social Value Week, comprising 5 days of actions aimed at providing a focal point for individuals, businesses, social enterprises and government to join forces and ‘think social’.

Social Value happens when people or organisations that make purchases or commission public services consider securing additional economic, social or environmental benefits for their local area. And it’s gathering momentum. Social enterprises across the province are already pushing the social value agenda.