Social justice secretary Shona Robison MSP outlines the new procurement strategy for Social Security Scotland
From the outset of establishing a new social security system, we said that dignity, fairness and respect would be at the heart of everything we do as we build Scotland’s newest public service.
This applies further than those people who receive benefits and includes the positive impact we want to have on communities and local economies. For example the buying of different goods and services.
We are doing this in a way that provides maximum opportunities to Scottish businesses to deliver investment, benefits and employment whilst providing value for money for the taxpayer.
We recently awarded local Supported Businesses contracts worth over £2 million to support the set-up of Social Security Scotland’s head office in Dundee as well as our Glasgow office. Supported Businesses are an invaluable asset – providing training and employment for people who may otherwise find it difficult to secure employment and adjust to the workplace. The businesses have an inclusive approach to recruitment, ensuring at least 30% of their workforce includes people who have either a disability or are disadvantaged in relation to their ability to find and sustain employment.
I had the opportunity to speak to social enterprise Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Co., a manufacturer based in the Erskine Veterans Village in Renfrewshire which provides training and job opportunities for people adjusting to life after leaving the armed forces. They told me how delighted they were at being awarded a contract worth £50,000 to provide bespoke signs for our Dundee and Glasgow offices.
As well as being able to employ local skills and talent to produce and install signage around our offices, we have also been able to back a business that provides meaningful employment and support to those who may find it hard to get into the workplace – helping to make a positive impact to local people's lives.
We are doing things differently when awarding contracts to businesses. Procurement is a powerful tool helping us shape and deliver the Scottish Government’s ambitions for a wellbeing economy where the benefits of economic prosperity are shared.
The full power of procurement is our ability to control our spend in a way that creates sustainable and inclusive economic growth with outcomes that are good for businesses and their employees, good for society, and positive for places and communities. I am proud that we have been able to put money into local communities in a socially responsible way and look forward to continuing this approach.
Social Security Scotland has so far spent £2 million, and we expect we expect our spend on goods and services to increase significantly this financial year as we continue to grow. Dignity, fairness and respect will continue to be at the forefront of our minds when making decisions about spending public money and we will continue to put Supported Businesses at the heart of our planning.
Shona Robison MSP is Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government