February 2020

The finalists for the 2020 GO Buy Social/Social Clauses Award in Northern Ireland have been announced:

  • Farrans Construction
  • Wholeschool and ProfileTree
  • Fox Building & Engineering Ltd and Department of Education (DE)
  • Neueda and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

The awards ceremony will take place on 10 March 2020 at The Titanic Hotel, Belfast.  For more information, see the GO Awards website.

January 2020

To date, 1447 people who were long term unemployed or had no substantial work experience have been able to access a job opportunity through a Buy Social project. We call these people New Entrant Trainees (NETs).

The Buy Social Monitoring Portal has now been developed to understand the impact and sustainability of Buy Social.  To date, 47% of New Entrant Trainees who gained an employment and training opportunity through Buy Social have completed their New Entrant Trainee period.  When a New Entrant Trainee completes their NET period, Contractors are now asked to report what the person went on to do next:

Numbers Percentages

Remained with employer following NET period



Returned to education/training



Gained alternative employment









Results indicate that 81% of Buy Social participants either remained in employment with the contractor, found alternative employment or returned to education/training.

July 2019

Over 1000 people in Northern Ireland have gained training or employment through Buy Social.

The Buy Social model for ICT contracts is being piloted.  There are currently 11 live ICT contracts with Buy Social requirements.

The team have begun to pilot wider social value initiatives, particularly in ICT and Services contracts, to support the Draft Programme for Government outcomes.  The Buy Social monitoring system has been updated in order to be able to monitor these other social considerations, such as work placements, business in education initiatives, and support for the Voluntary, Community, Social Enterprise sector.  The listings for Current Contracts and Broker Organisations have been updated to reflect these new developments.

April 2019

In April, the NI GO Award winners go forward to the National GO Awards.  The Department of Infrastructure/Graham Farrans JV/AECOM team win the National GO Social and Community Benefit in Procurement Award.  In doing so, they beat off strong competition from 10 other substantial organisations.

Through the Buy Social approach, adopted by the Department of Infrastructure for the procurement of the A6 Randalstown – Castledawson Dualling Scheme, 94 jobs have been created to date – including 24 education leavers / long term unemployed; 9 apprentices; 29 student placements and 32 short term work experience placements. This has equated to 1,330 hours training and 26,048 hours of mentoring delivered.

March 2019

The Northern Ireland GO Awards ceremony is held in March in Belfast.

The 2019 Go Buy Social/Sustainable Procurement in Construction Award is won by the Department of Infrastructure/Graham Farrans JV/AECOM for the construction of the A6 road project.  The Highly Commended award goes to the Kevin Watson Group for their delivery of social housing and leisure projects.

The 2019 Go Buy Social/Sustainable Procurement in Services Award is won by Translink and Sword Security for Translink’s security guarding contract.  The Highly Commended award is won by Countryside Services Limited for their delivery of DAERA’s Farm Business Improvement Scheme.

March 2018

The GO Awards Northern Ireland takes place on 14th March in Titanic Hotel, Belfast.  The Awards recognise those individuals, teams and organisations that have gone above and beyond normal standards, to make real differences to the quality of public services in Northern Ireland.

The inaugural Go Buy Social/Sustainable Procurement Award is won by the Central Procurement Directorate-Health Projects, in conjunction with South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnerships in recognition of their extensive collaboration and innovation in their delivery of a new Acute Service Block at the Ulster Hospital.

Two further entries are highly commended:

  • The Department for Infrastructure, AECOM, Graham Farrans Joint Venture, ARUP, Roughan & O’Donovan and Linesight for their work on the A6 Dualling Scheme.
  • Farrans Construction for their delivery of the Altnagelvin North Wing Redevelopment Hospital Project

February 2018

A second edition of the Buy Social toolkit is published.

December 2017

Buy Social sponsor a Go Award, with the awards ceremony taking place on 14 March 2018 in Belfast. The Go Buy Social/Sustainable Procurement Award recognises the crucial role that public procurement plays in Northern Ireland in providing a more sustainable and equitable society.

October 2017

Central Procurement Department issue the Buy Social Model for Services to all Heads of Centres of Procurement Expertise in Northern Ireland.

September 2017

The Buy Social Strategic Plan 2017-2019 was agreed with endorsement and support from senior officials in all nine Government Departments.

March 2017

The Buy Social team continues to grow with the appointment of two new Development Officers. Work commences on a Buy Social Professional Services and IT model.

February 2017

The Procurement Board discussed the Buy Social Services Model and following further discussion with a number of Departments the model is agreed. The Buy Social Model for Services is now mandatory for all contracts above £500,000 per annum.

July 2016

The OECD report, Implementing Joined-up Governance for a Common Purpose, which is a strategic review of the Public Sector is published. The review recommends the Government:

  • Ensure ongoing, high level commitment to better integrate social objectives in the planning and commissioning phases of more procurement processes.
  • Develop and make available expertise to commissioning and procurement officials as they undertake their work.
  • Develop the necessary expertise, collect and share successful examples and best practices within Northern Ireland, and cultivate additional relationships with neighbourhood, local and regional organisations that can assist in identifying proposals for social outcomes that are truly welcomed by and beneficial to the targeted communities.

(OECD; p.46)

April 2016

Buy Social becomes mandatory in construction and civil engineering contracts. Buy Social requirements are to be used in procurement above £2m for buildings contracts and above £4m for civil engineering contracts.

Brokerage website goes live which has been created to help contractors who win public work find employability brokers who will help them deliver their Buy Social Clause obligations, for more information visit www.buysocialnibrokerage.org.