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Evaluating Social Procurement Criteria

Posted 1/10/2020

Progressive organizations are now or are considering linking community social development objectives with their procurement activities. These objectives could be divided into two categories: project related and community related.

Project related objectives could include quantifiable objectives such as employment related objectives and local sourcing that are particular to the project’s procurement. Community benefits could be the result of multiple projects and the community’s long-term social development strategy.

Project related social objectives would be incorporated into the RFX for a project. These objectives should be developed carefully and reconciled with the community’s social development strategy. The weighting of social criteria will depend on the project type and be relative to quality and environmental criteria. Evaluation of project related criteria will focus on methodology and quantifiable statements. Price could be evaluated by the best value method.

All evaluated criteria from a request must be clearly stated and reconciled to the desired outcome. Buyers should ensure that the requested outcomes are achievable through a professional working relationship with a chosen supplier.

Evaluation of community social development objectives through procurement is more complex. The evaluation will focus on progress made to the community’s strategy for social development through procurement, not on any single procurement. Any measure of progress will be relative to baseline information. Demographic and other baseline statistical data as well as qualitative measures could be the starting point for measuring social benefits over time.

The collection of social benefit evaluative data should be assigned to the party most capable for the collection of that data.

Be sure to determine in advance who will own and who can use the data collected. For more on Social Procurement please visit