New era for public procurement as social value to be scored in government contracts – Murphy

Date published: 05 July 2021

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has today announced a new policy which will see mandatory scoring of social value within public procurement contracts.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy smiling to camera
Finance Minister Conor Murphy

The new policy agreed by the Executive, mandates that from June 2022, tenders must include a minimum of 10% of total award criteria to social value. This will apply to service contracts valued above £123,000 and construction contracts valued above £4.7million – accounting for approximately 97% of total government procurement spend.  The minimum weighting will increase to 20% from June 2023 subject to review and approval by the Executive.


Announcing the changes, Minister Murphy said: “Government has tremendous buying power, spending upwards of £3 billion annually on supplies, services and construction works. It is imperative that we harness this spending power to deliver economic, environmental and wider societal benefits.

“This new policy will help create jobs for people in deprived areas and deliver environmental benefits by requiring contracts to employ low or zero carbon practices.”


The Minister continued: “If we are to create a fair and cohesive society, then we have to tackle low pay. This new policy will see the Living Wage being included as a condition of contract for all tenders from June 2022. Given the Executive’s significant spending power, this is a major step forward in ending poverty pay.”


The Minister concluded: “I was determined when I restructured the Procurement Board at the end of last year that Procurement Policy would be co-designed by the people who develop contracts, and the companies and workers that deliver those contracts.

“This new policy represents a significant step-change for both government and tendering organisations. It sees social value placed at the very heart of public procurement, setting new standards that rewards companies for doing the right thing while ensuring the Executive uses its spending power for the common good.


“I commend the Procurement Board for developing this transformative policy and look forward to the Board bringing further improvements to Public Procurement in the time ahead.”

Notes to editors: 

Notes to editors:

  1. A copy of the Minister’s Oral Ministerial Statement can be accessed here.
  2. The 9 month lead-in time before the new policy comes into effect was requested by stakeholders to allow for training to be rolled out and to provide time for Business Cases to build in any additional financial costs arising from the social benefits included in contracts.
  3. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Finance Press Office on Tel: 028 9081 6724 or email Follow us on Twitter @dptfinance
  4. Follow us on Twitter @dptfinance
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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