As the UK’s social enterprise sector grows there are more and more opportunities for ‘social procurement’, and sometimes you don’t even have to leave the office to find them. When ECL Contracts (a British Gas subsidiary) was looking for a supplier of office cleaning services for its offices in Plymouth, they used Social Business Partnership (SBP). SBP's specialist brokerage service introduced them to Pluss, a social enterprise which provides employment and training for people with disabilities.
As a Founding Member of SBP, British Gas is taking a lead when it comes to building a more responsible supply chain, and we are working with British Gas to find and exploit opportunities to procure from high-quality social enterprises. Having consulted with British Gas and ECL Contracts on supply chain opportunities, office cleaning was identified as an opportunity, and SBP shortlisted and assessed a number of social enterprise suppliers in the Plymouth area. We recommended Pluss for the job, who then submitted a quote and won the contract in an open, competitive bidding process. Their work with ECL Contracts has enabled them to give on-the-job training and work experience to a cleaner who has a learning disability, and who will be in a much better position to ﬁnd paid employment later on.
Malcolm Smith, National Domestic Manager for ECL Contracts, said “We approached SBP and were impressed with the way they understood our requirements and promptly made an introduction to Pluss. We received a competitive quote from Pluss and have been very satisfied with their performance.”
Sally Carr, Area Team Manager at Pluss, found the contracting process itself very valuable, and says “Having seen the requirements of the external contractor and won a competitive bidding process, this will really help us to ﬁnd more cleaning contracts.”