Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 18 November 2010) . . Page.. 5707 ..
review of a selection of recent procurements to evaluate the influence that the ACT government’s sustainability policies are having. As I said, we recommend that explicit reference to sustainability should be included in the Government Procurement Act 2001.
We then move on in the report to social procurement. This is a bit of a two-part story. When we started our inquiry, there did not appear to be much government interest in social procurement. Social procurement, for those who are not aware, is concerned with including social value as part of the triple bottom line, or as part of the double bottom line, into procurement issues.
We noted at the beginning that the government had little idea about this. A couple of months before the conclusion of our report, in fact, we delayed our report so that we could get—
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Order, members! It is difficult enough for me to hear Ms Le Couteur with her soft voice, without having to go over you lot.
MS LE COUTEUR: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. I will endeavour to talk up, although I do not think I can emulate Mr Hanson for loudness of voice.
We actually delayed the outcome of our report in order to get more evidence from the government on social procurement, as there was a policy change during the period of our inquiry. We were very pleased to find that the ACT government has now become more involved in social procurement, although it would have to be described as still in very early and tentative stages.
Unfortunately, while DHCS has put some resources towards a hub for social enterprises, most of the enterprises that that hub is supporting are not the sort of things which the government often procures. One thing that comes to mind is Ronnie’s Succulent Snails. I have been a donator of snails to Ronnie’s, but we do not often serve snails in government hospitality, to my knowledge—not that I would eat them, of course, being a vegetarian, even if we did serve them.
Mr Hanson: Are snails not vegetarian?
MS LE COUTEUR: No. We made a number of recommendations about strengthening social aspects of government procurement, that there should be a special information forum on the new social procurement policy and particularly to target organisations in the area that fall under the ambit of the ACT Council of Social Service.
We also thought it was very important that the government start capturing information about social aspects of procurement policy, that this needed to happen immediately and that DHCS, as lead department in this area, need to development more methodology for advancing social procurement.