Social Procurement

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Every purchase has a social, economic, cultural and environmental impact. Social procurement is a way for the City of Peterborough to elevate this impact by leveraging existing procurement activities to achieve positive social value outcomes. 

Through Social Procurement, the City seeks to leverage existing procurement activities to achieve positive Social Value Objectives that align with the City's strategic goals and plan:

  • Local economic development and employment to support City of Peterborough and County of Peterborough residents to work in the region.
  • Support local businesses by prioritizing purchasing for below trade agreement thresholds.
  • Prioritize inclusion and diversity in our supply chain and in the business practices of our suppliers.
  • Social equity and sustainable community development to lift up and support our community where it is needed most.
  • Socio-economic goals derived from environmental sustainability purchasing will contribute to our healthy community where people and the environment are intrinsically linked.
  • Strengthen arts, heritage and culture.

How does Social Procurement work:

The City uses different methods to include Social Procurement in its procurement process, including:

  • Prioritizing the City’s low value procurement (up to $10,000 and under trade agreement thresholds) to local, social enterprise, diverse-owned businesses and Suppliers who contribute to the Social Value Objectives. Vendors who identify as these business types can register on the City of Peterborough’s Vendor Registry.
  • For procurements that are between $10,000 to less than $50,000, the City will obtain a minimum of three informal quotes of which at least one is from a local supplier, social enterprise or diverse-owned Supplier, where practicable.
  • For procurements that are over $50,000 and less than $100,000, the City will issue the bid solicitation to at least three Suppliers, with the goal that at least one is from a local supplier, social enterprise or diverse-owned Supplier. The Invitational Competition will consider price, Best Value, Social Value considerations and other evaluation criteria included in the Bid Solicitation.
  • For procurements $100,000 or more, a Social Value Questionnaire is included as part of the evaluation criteria along with price, quality, time, materials, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Social Procurement?
Every purchase has a social, economic, cultural, and environmental impact. Social procurement is about using your existing purchasing strategically, to capture those impacts to achieve overarching institutional, governmental, or individual goals that help shape inclusive, vibrant, and healthy communities. It is a shift from requiring lowest price to achieving best value.
How is Social Procurement different from traditional procurement?
Social Procurement still includes the purchaser value and supplier value of traditional purchasing but adds a social value to it. The inclusion of social value allows for procurement to generate community value. By being intentional about the value we want to create through purchasing, we can create positive impacts on our communities.
Why is social procurement important?
Local governments spend millions of dollars annually. There is an opportunity for local governments to look at the potential for their spending to support local employment, economic and community benefits. For smaller communities and those in economic transition, local government spending can be a significant lever to generate positive local and community impacts.
What are the goals of social procurement?

Each community will set their goals depending to their needs and opportunities. Social procurement includes social value as part of the procurement bidding and evaluation process. The information and questions centre around employment, training and apprenticeships, supply chain and/or community engagement. Bidders will be asked to describe their current practices, and what community benefits they can provide should they be the successful proponent.

Is it legal for governments to use social procurement? Don’t we have trade agreements to comply with?
Yes, governments must comply with trade agreements. You cannot restrict competition, but you can seek social value outcomes from all bidders. The important part is making the process competitive and transparent for all bidders.
Does social procurement mean buying from local businesses?
In terms of proposals received, so far there has not been an increase in costs. In fact, by unbundling projects (breaking large contracts into smaller, clearly separate parts), there has even been significant cost savings that result from goods and services being delivered by local businesses. However, depending on what the goals might be, a decision could be made to pay more for greater value.
Why is the City of Peterborough implementing Social Procurement?
The implementation of Social Procurement will allow the City of Peterborough to leverage existing procurement activities to achieve positive social value outcomes such as social, economic, environmental, and cultural benefits that align with the values of the City. Through Social Procurement, the City seeks to support broader institutional strategic goals.

Information for Vendors

How do I register as a local business, social enterprise and/or a diverse-owned business?
To register as a local business, social enterprise and/or a diverse-owned business complete the City of Peterborough Social Procurement Vendor Registry online form.
How does the City define a Local Business, Social Enterprise, Diverse or Indigenous Business?

Local Business: A local business is headquartered and majority-owned by individuals who reside in the City of Peterborough, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation or the County of Peterborough. Local ownership includes an independent, privately owned business, a location of a small, privately owned independent chain of businesses, a locally owned location of a franchise, or a non-profit owned social enterprise business.

Social Enterprise: A social enterprise is a business that sells goods and services; they embed a social, cultural or environmental purpose into the business, and they reinvest most of their profits into their social mission.

Diverse Business: A diverse business is a business that is more than 50 percent owned, managed and controlled by an equity-seeking community or social purpose enterprise. These communities include, but are not limited to, women, Indigenous people, racial minorities, persons with disabilities, newcomers and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S+) community.

Indigenous Business: An Indigenous Business is defined as a business which is 51% or more owned, operated, and controlled by an Indigenous person(s).

 Third party certification

Third party certification means a certificate that the business is majority owned by; Indigenous peoples, women, 2SLGBTQIA+, racialized minorities, immigrants and refugees, people with disabilities, or is a Social Enterprise could include:

About the Social Procurement Questionnaire

When is the Social Procurement Questionnaire used?

Will the questionnaire be used in every Request for Proposals and Request for Quotations, or just in select opportunities?

Answer: The questionnaire is currently used in all City of Peterborough Request for Proposals and Request for Quotations.

How will the Social Procurement weighting be determined per bid?
The criterion weighting for Social Procurement will range from 5% to 25% and the weight will be a stipulated in the solicitation document. Other criteria in the solicitation will be valued for the rest of the points, such that there are 100 points available in total for evaluation. The Social Procurement criterion weighting will be considered for each procurement and will take into consideration the overall social impact that particular procurement may have.
Will bidders have to meet a minimum score requirement on the questionnaire?
No, there will be no minimum threshold for scoring on the questionnaire to compete on a solicitation.
Who is responsible for evaluating the questionnaire? 

Are questionnaires evaluated by municipal staff or by external parties?

Answer: City staff will be evaluating the questionnaire.

How does the questionnaire scoring work?

The questionnaire has a maximum of 36 points. How does this get translated into the final evaluated score of 100?

Answer: the contribution of the questionnaire to the total score will be dependent on the weight given to the Social Procurement criterion. As an example, if in a solicitation where the questionnaire is worth 10% of the total score and the questionnaire has a possible 36 points available, after evaluation of the questionnaire, if you are scored 18 of the 36 points available, you would receive 50% of the 10% or 5 points towards the 100 points available.

Is there an intent to audit the answers to the questionnaire as part of the procurement process?
The questionnaire states that the Municipality reserves the right to audit. While it is not the intent to audit every single response, there is an option to seek further evidence to substantiate responses, if required.
Is there going to be a process to debrief people who are not awarded solicitations?
After award, respondents or proponents can request a debrief for their submission. The mechanism for requesting a debrief is outlined in the solicitation document for the opportunity.