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Countdown to SFHA Procurement Conference: seven days to go

Creating opportunities for third sector organisations.

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In advance of his workshop at the SFHA Procurement Conference, Neil Young, Co-ordinator at P4P, discusses how housing associations could create more opportunities for third sector organisations to access income through procurement. 

Scotland’s social enterprise sector is growing. According to the 2019 Social Enterprise Census, there are 6,025 social enterprises currently operating in Scotland, up from 5,600 in 2017. The third sector, as a whole, by comparison, has a turnover of over £8 billion (SCVO, 2020). 

Offering a range of different services and products, there are a number of potential benefits of purchasing from third sector organisations. This could include significant added value due to the social and/or environmental mission as well as fairer working practices.

Third sector organisations, however, experience various barriers to procurement. This includes insufficient capacity, capability or experience to deliver, and published requirements not matching products or services (Social Enterprise Census, 2019). Other barriers could include size, tender timescales, lack of advance notice, tender scoring as well as third sector attitudes to procurement. 

Despite the above, there are ways that public bodies and housing associations can create opportunities for third sector organisations.  

For example, increasing scores available for fair work practices and community benefits, reserved contracts, breaking contracts into lots, as well as mandating or encouraging consortia or supply chain opportunities for third sector organisations. The third sector should also be at the heart of the move towards community wealth building approaches to economic development and procurement. 

Join Neil at the P4P workshop at the SFHA Procurement Conference on 18 March to discuss how the sector can be supported to increase the number of third sector organisations winning contracts with housing associations. 

The conference will also look at:

  • how RSLs can best drive meaningful community benefits and impactful social value contributions in their localities
  • procurement collaboration
  • case studies of those who have taken a proactive approach to contract management and tender specification.  

You will also have the chance to hear directly from Colin Taylor of Scotland Excel and Mark Turley, from the Scottish Government, on the Procurement Support Programme. They will give an update on the programme and outline the next steps.

The Procurement Conference takes place on 18 March at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, and follows the Development Conference on 17 March. 

The delegate fee for each day starts at £229 for SFHA members (£319 for non-members), which includes attendance, lunch and all refreshments. If you book to attend both days, the cost is just £395 – a saving of £63, and you can send a different delegate each day. 

Book your place online or contact the SFHA Events Team at events@sfha.co.uk  

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