Coventry housing company launches procurement platform for social suppliers

Orbit Housing

A new open access procurement platform has been launched by Orbit and Supply Change – a social procurement provider – to connect suppliers and buyers to deliver commercial value and social impact.

The new Social Supplier Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) allows buyers to source goods and services from suppliers who can deliver a quality service and a positive impact, such as social enterprises, charities and sheltered workshops.

Compliant with UK legislation, the new platform reduces procurement complexity, creating more opportunity for suppliers and buyers to work together to achieve commercial success and deliver social value. It enables buyers to achieve social value through smaller and lower value goods and services; reduces the barriers of entry for suppliers; and is open to both public and private sector buyers, creating further opportunity for growth.

For suppliers, it provides access to new commercial partnership that may not otherwise have been possible.Suppliers can apply to join the DPS by registering interest and completing an online questionnaire. The questionnaires are then evaluated by Supply Change and, if approved, the supplier is added to the DPS. Once added, suppliers can bid for suitable contracts.

Sam Scharf, Director of Communities and Sustainability at Orbit, said: “As an organisation, we have a strong social purpose and are committed to working with Social Enterprises to empower local economies, support society and create employment opportunities. We are now spending close to £2 million per annum and are actively looking to increase the percentage of spend with social enterprises. This new platform will allow us to do just this, but we also wanted to open up the opportunity for others to do the same.

“For social suppliers it means they can gain access to larger businesses who they may previously have struggled to get a foot-hold in with, and for buyers it provides the ability to deliver social value through more aspects of their purchasing. It will provide essential revenue to help sustain suppliers and support society, while helping buyers to meet their Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance commitments.”

CEO and co-founder at Supply Change, Beth Pilgrim, added: “Supply Change is delighted to be partnering with Orbit to launch this DPS. Supply Change’s mission is to increase the number of social enterprises in public and private sector supply chains by connecting buyers to suppliers who can deliver excellent work and social or environmental value.

“This DPS removes many of the barriers faced by social enterprises when accessing public sector procurement, by giving them the opportunity to bid for suitable contracts with buyers who want to deliver impact to local communities.

“We’ve already had great early engagement in the DPS which is an encouraging indicator of the potential impact the platform will have. Greater spending with social enterprises means more money reinvested back into local economies, job creation and many more benefits for communities. In the long term we hope that the DPS will contribute to making social procurement the norm across the public and private sectors.”