Social procurement a key strategy for addressing disadvantage says new report

10 Dec 2021

A new report by the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue and RPS has made a series of recommendations for addressing social disadvantage in Greater Western Sydney through social procurement.


Released at the annual Boomtown Property and Infrastructure Summit, Humanising Infrastructure: Securing a Bigger Social Legacy for Greater Western Sydney incorporates perspectives from leaders in local government, health, development, education, social services and transport. It also explores practical examples from international communities that are already reaping the benefits of a more coordinated approach to social procurement.

The report puts forward three main recommendations for social procurement success:

  • A Social Procurement Framework for NSW
    New South Wales needs a bold and visionary whole-of-government Social Procurement Framework that includes ambitious targets and reporting mechanisms.
  • A Social Enterprise Strategy for NSW
    Critical to the success of the Framework will be a strong social enterprise sector. This requires the development and adoption of a NSW Social Enterprise Strategy.
  • A Western Sydney Infrastructure Pathways Program
    According to stakeholders, there is a need to centralise aspects of procurement that deliver skills development, cultural and gender diversity targets, pre-employment and local supply chain engagement. The Western Sydney Infrastructure Pathways Program (WSIPP) would achieve this, leveraging collaboration, economies of scale, and positive outcomes for the region.

RPS National Lead Social Advisory & Research, Vanessa Pilla, whose team co-authored the report, said that while there is positive intent when it comes to social value creation through government investment in infrastructure and other programs, more can be done to enhance the benefits for communities doing it tough.

“What we’ve learned from other state jurisdictions that have a whole-of-government social procurement framework in place is that despite the ambition and targets, there are still challenges to delivering due to a lack of supplier diversity,” she said. 

“Social enterprises provide a pathway to employment for people and communities experiencing disadvantage because of the nature of their business model. They make decisions that have a social benefit as well as a commercial gain. 

“In Greater Western Sydney, the social enterprise sector provides meaningful connections to the groups and demographics that government and industry often seek to engage, and it offers a vital link to diverse communities whose disengagement with government has been exposed during the recent COVID crisis. 

“A social enterprise approach to procurement can multiply the benefits generated by public spending. It’s a key tool that we can use to transform the social procurement agenda and address social disadvantage. Not just in Sydney’s West, but far beyond it,” Vanessa added.

Discover the recommendations and read the report here>>

More RPS ideas and expertise for social value creation>>


Get in touch with our social advisory team

Vanessa Pilla, National Lead - Social Advisory, Sydney NSW Australia

Vanessa Pilla

National Lead - Social Advisory and Research T: +61 2 8099 3200 Email
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