Pioneers Post
the business
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  • user warning: UPDATE command denied to user '408302_semagad'@'10.187.244.243' for table 'cache_filter' query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>There\'s much talk about social clauses and whether they should be automatically included in all tenders, primarily in the belief that this will benefit social enterprises and allow them to compete more successfully with commercial businesses.</p>\n<p>There has been disappointment that London\'s 2012 Olympics delivery contracts haven\'t included social clauses. Neither is there a requirement that a proportion of contracts should be delivered by third sector organisations.</p>\n<p>But would this be realistic and is it even workable?</p>\n<p>Any selection criteria based on technical capacity must be relevant - social clauses may not be relevant to every contract.</p>\n<p>The Department of Health has started looking into this area. Its social enterprise unit is looking at social return on investment which could legitimately be included. However, staff admit this is a tricky issue. The process must be fair and transparent and must not unfairly discriminate against other bidders.</p>\n<p>Even without strict requirements being enforced from on high, change is happening. At a recent social enterprise conference, an example was raised of ten strategic health authorities that were already looking at examples of social value.</p>\n<p>There is an underlying assumption that if social clauses were included, social enterprises would automatically win the contract. But this may not be the case.</p>\n<p>Commercial companies often carry out far-reaching corporate social responsibility activities and partnerships with charities. In a world of \'it\'s not what you say, it\'s how you say it\' it is these commercial companies that may be more vocal at demonstrating their social values.</p>\n<p>Social enterprises have identified a niche and built up their brand around delivering their specialist services. Instead of focusing their energies on an issue that is highly regulated under European procurement rules, greater success may be found in continuing to do what they\'re good at. And at making sure contracting authorities are supplied with as much relevant information as possible to allow them to make an informed decision, rather than assuming knowledge and hoping for the best.</p>\n<p>My advice would be keep doing what you\'re good at, both as individual organisations and as a sector campaigning for change, but carry on keeping one eye open for new opportunities and developments - don\'t overlook more low-lying fruit.</p>\n<p><em>Catherine Rustomji is head of third sector north for Hempsons <strong>hempsons.co.uk</strong></em></p>\n', created = 1462223920, expire = 1462310320, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '1:d9114fe9642d2274989fd22081bb131c' in /mnt/stor2-wc1-dfw1/408302/www.socialenterpriselive.com/web/content/includes/cache.inc on line 109.
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Expert eye: Social clauses

19 November 2009

Social clauses in contracts are hailed by some as the nirvana for social enterprises, but Catherine Rustomji wonders if we've really thought this through

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