Disability Enterprises in your supply chain can make a difference in securing your next contract

Disability Enterprises in your supply chain can make a difference in securing your next contract

Disability Enterprises in your supply chain can make a difference in securing your next contract

Understanding how social procurement can work for your organisation is crucial to ensure survival in today's complex and changing environment.

In today’s ever-changing work environments, an understanding of social procurement is vital.

As stated by the author in this article below, “Are you leveraging social enterprises (or disability enterprises) in your tenders? Because your competitors are! See NSW Government’s Sustainable Procurement categories below, there are explicit expectations for engaging social benefit suppliers, such as Disability Enterprises that provide “employment of people with a disability”.

 There's a growing expectation for contractors to include social enterprises when bidding and delivering commercial and major government projects, yet navigating social procurement remains an afterthought for many. 

 How social procurement is much more than corporate social responsibility

Government investment in procurement for disability service providers has provided unprecedented opportunity to not only create economic value, but also “create value for society by addressing its needs and challenges.”

Anna Crabb, head of strategy and partnerships at B Lab Australia and New Zealand, “Over the last few years social procurement has been gaining traction at all levels of government. Procurement has shifted from a strict price focus, to a focus on achieving value created through procurement.”

Of the three pillars of shared value; economic value, environmental value, and social value, BuyAbility’s social procurement efforts over the past few years have been heavily involved in creating social value with the goal of benefiting people who are given a chance to participate in the economy and their communities and change them for the better.

 As the value from procuring in this way has become evident, governments have incorporated new types of supplier organisations into procurement decision-making, seeking out organisations that promise positive community outcomes and are backed by independent verification.

 Refer to Buyability’s Information, Tools and Templates to see the links to the various State and Federal Government information on procurement in their jusrisdiction.

 Additionally, the environmental and social benefits of supported employment are substantial. When people choose to buy from a Disability Enterprise, they make a commercially sound and socially responsible purchase.

 Disability Enterprises have a track record of delivering high quality, value for money services in various categories, including property, stationary and records, communications and marketing, freight and courier.

 This range of vital sectors includes horticulture, waste management, cleaning, materials handling, transport and logistics, catering food and beverage, business administration, printing and distribution, and laundry.


In the United States, the AbilityOne Program seeks through federal procurement, to create employment opportunities for people who are blind or have a severe disability. First authorized in 1938 and now operating under the 1971 Javits Wagner O’Day Act, today government agencies annually purchase $3.3 billion worth of goods and services through the program and employs approximately 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities.

 This program is a significant social procurement initiative and coordinates participation from approximately 500 nonprofit agencies nationwide. Adopting a similar model here in Australia has a multitude of benefits, and both the Federal and State Governments should be looking to implement related programs to achieve similar levels of success.

 Below are a handful of the ‘Social Procurement in Action Examples being delivered across Australia.

 Wise Employment – NSW Government Office Cleaning

Wise Employment’s social enterprise, Clean Force, is delivering an innovative day & agile cleaning service, including COVID sanitisation, for NSW Government’s new 33 storey building in Parramatta. This contract is providing jobs for 15 disadvantaged clients, which includes people with disability, as well as culturally and linguistically diverse clients and members of the aboriginal community. Wise is one of 10 Disability Enterprises registered on the NSW Government pre-qualification Scheme.

Rural Fire Service – Courier and Mail Run

Flourish Australia provides tailored courier and mail services for the Rural Fire Service in Sydney Olympic Park. The courier makes daily visits to the RFS Headquarters, and other RFS buildings in the local area, including a post office pick up and drop-off. Simon, the driver, is treated as part of the RFS family as he makes his daily drop off and pickups.

Flourish Australia – Complete Digitisation Solution

The Department of Customer Service engaged Flourish Australia to provide a complete document digitisation solution. This includes secure document collection & transportation, Document prep & scanning, upload and secure destruction of hard copies. Flourish are currently processing over 100,000 pages weekly for the department.

Civic Industries & Achieve Australia – Lending Hands

Two disability enterprises provided 26 supported workers to provide a ‘Lending Hand’ to help a Government Department move offices. The service included unpacking and installing equipment, stationery cabinets and lockers, first aid kits, defibrillators, crockery, cutlery and other appliances. Civic also provides the Department of Defence’s NSW Holsworthy Army base with supported employee work crews to carry out a range of administrative tasks, from filing, scanning, document and records management

One of the goals of BuyAbility was to give disability enterprises a profile and develop relationships between parties that make it easier to retain future contracts. In terms of a transition, these enterprises have been able to continue to provide employment for people with disabilities and continue these commercial relationships.

Continue reading about Disability Enterprises in your Supply Chain.

Visit the buyAbility website for Social Procurement Resources

For more information, please contact Simon Scrase, Programs Development Manager - BuyAbility, 02 9256 3101,, 1300 043 517,


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