A group of MPs has called on the Government to issue guidance to public sector procurement officers urging them to consider the benefits to the community during the tendering process.
Community benefit clauses allow procurement officers to consider additional criteria such as any benefits that will accrue to a local area from giving a public service delivery contract to a local organisation.
Mark Lazarowicz, Labour MP for Edinburgh North & Leith, tabled an early day motion on the subject this week. It has been signed by 17 MPs.
The motion says social enterprises have an important role in the promotion of social cohesion and sustainable development within communities and notes "the emergence of community benefit contracts which allow public bodies to legally insist on terms that bring extra benefits to disadvantaged communities such as work and training opportunities".
The move comes after Camden Council in north London announced it was trailing a new social procurement strategy, which allows bidders to be flexible when explaining how they meet council targets.
Bob Spink, independent MP for Castle Point and the third sponsor of the proposal, said: "We are encouraging public procurement officers to use community benefit clauses."
This would mean that officers would have to consider economic, social or environmental benefits when contracting out a service, said Spink.
"This would provide another source of support at a time when the third sector is being squeezed," he added.