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Buying social justice through procurement: an examination of the use of public (Novation)

The UK public sector spends £284bn a year on purchasing (or procuring) goods, works and services. With such high amounts of spending, there is growing interest from policymakers in using this public spending power to foster social goals, an idea known as social procurement.

The “Buying Social Justice” research project is investigating the use of social procurement by public bodies. More specifically, it explores public bodies’ use of public procurement as a lever for fostering employment equality in UK construction, a sector which has low numbers of women and ethnic minority workers.

The project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, is comparing the adoption of social procurement by public bodies in England, Wales and Scotland, and aims to make recommendations on how effective practice in advancing employment equality can be expanded.

The project has now finished.

A summary of the project and all outputs can be found on the project website : 


Project Team:

Prof Tessa Wright - Queen Mary University London (Principal Investigator)

Dr Eva Katharina Sarter - IER

Prof Hazel Conley - University of the West of England

Dr Joyce Mamode - Queen Mary University London

Project Duration:

October 2021 - November 2023


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