Social clauses were introduced by the Department for Social Development into all new social housing and urban regeneration contracts with effect from 1 January 2011.
Significant sums of public money are spent every year on procuring goods and services and it has long been recognised within government that the use of social clauses within government contracts can deliver significant social and economic benefits. They have been successfully used within the construction industry to assist people who are economically inactive back into work through the provision of training and help with skills development. This is particularly important to ensure that we have sufficient numbers of skilled workers to grow our economy.
The social clause contractual requirement is that for every £0.5 million of labour value the contractor shall provide a work placement opportunity for an unemployed person. This can be achieved in three ways:
- by three 8 week placements of practical work experience
- by a 26 week placement of work experience which includes working towards a level 2/3 vocationally related qualification
- by a 26 week placement of work experience which includes working towards an essential skills qualification
The Programme for Government commits all departments to include social clauses in all public procurement contracts for supllies, services and construction. I am fully committed to this objective and will continue to review the work of my department to see what added value we can bring to communities.