Social enterprises in Scotland target public sector commissioners

Ready for Business scheme to promote community benefit clauses in contracts

Social enterprise umbrella groups in Scotland are launching two schemes to encourage the public sector to consider social benefit as well as cost when awarding contracts.
The first, called Ready for Business, has been developed with funding from the Scottish Government by Scottish social enterprise support organisations CEiS, Senscot and Social Firms Scotland.

It will encourage public sector bodies to include community benefit clauses in their tenders, which allow not-for-profit organisations to demonstrate the social impact that will follow if they win the contract.

Colin Campbell, development manager at Senscot, said the clauses had already been included in a number of contracts for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and that there had been a growing interest from local and central government in their wider introduction.

The programme will also create a register of social enterprises in Scotland that are ready to apply for public sector contracts, with the aim of making it easier for social enterprises to form consortia for large-scale bids.

The second scheme, set up by the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition with Scottish Chambers of Commerce, is an education programme to encourage private sector businesses to put community benefit clauses in their applications for contracts.

"We'll be promoting this to a series of chambers of commerce around the country," said Antonia Swinson, chief executive of the SSEC.

"We want all businesses, not only social enterprises, to promote the community benefit that they provide."

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