General FAQs

  • What is Buy Social?

    Buy Social is a tool to maximise social and economic benefits from public purchasing. One way that this can be achieved is through Targeted Recruitment and Training (TR&T) opportunities. Targeted Recruitment and Training is the term used to describe job opportunities with training that are only available to certain individuals e.g. those who are long term unemployed or leaving education or training, otherwise known as ‘New Entrant Trainees’. It is also possible to design wider, targeted social value initiatives, particularly on smaller value or specialised contracts where Targeted Recruitment and Training may not be suitable.

  • Who is a New Entrant Trainee?

    A New Entrant Trainee is one of the following:

    • a person that is leaving or has, within the last 12 months, left an educational establishment or a training provider (including paid student work placements)
    • a person aged under 25 that has been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and is seeking employment
    • a person aged 25 or over that has been unemployed for more than 52 weeks and is seeking employment
    • an existing ‘New Entrant Trainee’ that is seeking a new position to complete their ‘New Entrant’ period, or another person who is accepted as a New Entrant Trainee by the Client
    A New Entrant Trainee can be in one of the following categories
    • an apprentice who is undertaking a paid apprenticeship, registered within the ApprenticeshipsNI programme or a similar scheme agreed by the Employer, can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 104 weeks.
    • a professional trainee (post-primary degree or equivalent) who is working towards full corporate membership of a professional institution and/or registration body and is registered with an appropriate professional body. These individuals can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 104 weeks.
    • an undergraduate student working towards a primary degree and required by a university or college to undertake a placement in industry to gain relevant training and experience through paid employment. These individuals can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 52 weeks.
    • an other trainee who can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 52 weeks. This category can include but are not limited to semi-skilled, operative, administration, health and safety, IT support, business improvement and other support positions.

  • What is the Find a Broker service used for?

    The Find a Broker section of this website has been created to help contractors who have been awarded public contracts with Buy Social clauses to link with relevant organisations (‘brokers’) who can support them to deliver these clauses. You can search the site for brokers who:

    • work in an appropriate geographical area, and
    • work with people who will meet your Buy Social requirements.
    This will generate a contact list of suitable brokers that you can download. There is template text in the Buy Social 'Guide for Contractors' which you can use to email suitable brokers. You can download the Guide from the resources section of the Buy Social website. For more information on Buy Social, please visit the website or email info@buysocialni.org.

Broker FAQs

  • What is Buy Social?

    Buy Social is a tool to maximise social and economic benefits from public purchasing. One way that this can be achieved is through Targeted Recruitment and Training (TR&T) opportunities. Targeted Recruitment and Training is the term used to describe job opportunities with training that are only available to certain individuals e.g. those who are long term unemployed or leaving education or training, otherwise known as ‘New Entrant Trainees’. It is also possible to design wider, targeted social value initiatives, particularly on smaller value or specialised contracts where Targeted Recruitment and Training may not be suitable.

  • Who is a New Entrant Trainee?

    A New Entrant Trainee is one of the following:

    • a person that is leaving or has, within the last 12 months, left an educational establishment or a training provider (including paid student work placements)
    • a person aged under 25 that has been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and is seeking employment
    • a person aged 25 or over that has been unemployed for more than 52 weeks and is seeking employment
    • an existing ‘New Entrant Trainee’ that is seeking a new position to complete their ‘New Entrant’ period, or another person who is accepted as a New Entrant Trainee by the Client
    A New Entrant Trainee can be in one of the following categories
    • an apprentice who is undertaking a paid apprenticeship, registered within the ApprenticeshipsNI programme or a similar scheme agreed by the Employer, can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 104 weeks.
    • a professional trainee (post-primary degree or equivalent) who is working towards full corporate membership of a professional institution and/or registration body and is registered with an appropriate professional body. These individuals can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 104 weeks.
    • an undergraduate student working towards a primary degree and required by a university or college to undertake a placement in industry to gain relevant training and experience through paid employment. These individuals can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 52 weeks.
    • an other trainee who can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 52 weeks. This category can include but are not limited to semi-skilled, operative, administration, health and safety, IT support, business improvement and other support positions.

  • What is the Buy Social Services Model?

    The Buy Social services model has been developed by the Strategic Investment Board and CPD. The Procurement Board discussed the Buy Social Services Model at its meetings on 13 January and 24 February 2017 and, following further discussion with a number of Departments, the model is now agreed. The model should now be considered in services contracts with an anticipated value of £500,000 per annum or more.

  • What is the Buy Social construction model?

    Departments, the construction Centres of Procurement Expertise and representatives from the local construction industry. The model was endorsed by the Procurement Board in November 2015 and came into operation in April 2016. It sets a contractual requirement for a quantifiable number of targeted recruitment and training opportunities for New Entrant Trainees to be provided in Government construction contracts. The requirement is to be delivered by the main contractor and its supply chain.

  • What is the Find a Broker service used for?

    The Find a Broker section of this website has been created to help contractors who have been awarded public contracts with Buy Social clauses to link with relevant organisations (‘brokers’) who can support them to deliver these clauses. You can search the site for brokers who:

    • work in an appropriate geographical area, and
    • work with people who will meet your Buy Social requirements.
    This will generate a contact list of suitable brokers that you can download. There is template text in the Buy Social 'Guide for Contractors' which you can use to email suitable brokers. You can download the Guide from the resources section of the Buy Social website. For more information on Buy Social, please visit the website or email info@buysocialni.org.

Contractor FAQs

  • What is Buy Social?

    Buy Social is a tool to maximise social and economic benefits from public purchasing. One way that this can be achieved is through Targeted Recruitment and Training (TR&T) opportunities. Targeted Recruitment and Training is the term used to describe job opportunities with training that are only available to certain individuals e.g. those who are long term unemployed or leaving education or training, otherwise known as ‘New Entrant Trainees’. It is also possible to design wider, targeted social value initiatives, particularly on smaller value or specialised contracts where Targeted Recruitment and Training may not be suitable.

  • What is a Broker?

    A broker is a training/employability organisation which works with people who are eligible for Buy Social opportunities and are looking for employment, work placement opportunities and/or employment support.  Brokers can set up introductions for Contractors, help with supporting their clients and are often willing to work with a contractor to help them meet their Buy Social requirements.

  • Who is a New Entrant Trainee?

    A New Entrant Trainee is one of the following:

    • a person that is leaving or has, within the last 12 months, left an educational establishment or a training provider (including paid student work placements)
    • a person aged under 25 that has been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and is seeking employment
    • a person aged 25 or over that has been unemployed for more than 52 weeks and is seeking employment
    • an existing ‘New Entrant Trainee’ that is seeking a new position to complete their ‘New Entrant’ period, or another person who is accepted as a New Entrant Trainee by the Client
    A New Entrant Trainee can be in one of the following categories
    • an apprentice who is undertaking a paid apprenticeship, registered within the ApprenticeshipsNI programme or a similar scheme agreed by the Employer, can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 104 weeks.
    • a professional trainee (post-primary degree or equivalent) who is working towards full corporate membership of a professional institution and/or registration body and is registered with an appropriate professional body. These individuals can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 104 weeks.
    • an undergraduate student working towards a primary degree and required by a university or college to undertake a placement in industry to gain relevant training and experience through paid employment. These individuals can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 52 weeks.
    • an other trainee who can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 52 weeks. This category can include but are not limited to semi-skilled, operative, administration, health and safety, IT support, business improvement and other support positions.

  • What is the Buy Social Services Model?

    The Buy Social services model has been developed by the Strategic Investment Board and CPD. The Procurement Board discussed the Buy Social Services Model at its meetings on 13 January and 24 February 2017 and, following further discussion with a number of Departments, the model is now agreed. The model should now be considered in services contracts with an anticipated value of £500,000 per annum or more.

  • What is the Buy Social construction model?

    Departments, the construction Centres of Procurement Expertise and representatives from the local construction industry. The model was endorsed by the Procurement Board in November 2015 and came into operation in April 2016. It sets a contractual requirement for a quantifiable number of targeted recruitment and training opportunities for New Entrant Trainees to be provided in Government construction contracts. The requirement is to be delivered by the main contractor and its supply chain.

  • What is the Find a Broker service used for?

    The Find a Broker section of this website has been created to help contractors who have been awarded public contracts with Buy Social clauses to link with relevant organisations (‘brokers’) who can support them to deliver these clauses. You can search the site for brokers who:

    • work in an appropriate geographical area, and
    • work with people who will meet your Buy Social requirements.
    This will generate a contact list of suitable brokers that you can download. There is template text in the Buy Social 'Guide for Contractors' which you can use to email suitable brokers. You can download the Guide from the resources section of the Buy Social website. For more information on Buy Social, please visit the website or email info@buysocialni.org.

Procurement FAQS

  • How is Buy Social monitored?

    Where Buy Social requirements are included in the contract then they must be enforced. To facilitate this, the contractor must supply the client with progress reports as set out in the contract conditions. A robust monitoring system has been put in place so that, at intervals as stated in each contract, the contractor is to provide a listing of all the New Entrant Trainees that have been employed on the contract, as well as an update on any other social considerations included on the contract. The new monitoring system is a web-based system that works in the following way:

    • On awarding a contract with a Buy Social target, the Client must contact SIB to register the contract information on the monitoring system.
    • Once the contract is set up on the system, the contractor will be sent a username and password in order to access the contract report.
    • The contractor completes the report with the details of any New Entrant Trainees that have been appointed under Buy Social and of other social consideration initiatives included on the contract.
    • On the 1st of each month, the contractor will receive a reminder to update the report.
    • The system will show the Buy Social targets and any progress against the targets to date.
    • On the 20th of the month, both the Client and Contractor Project Managers will be emailed a report showing progress against targets.

  • How do I include Buy Social in a procurement?

    The Buy Social Toolkit provides guidance on how to include Buy Social in business cases, contract notices, pre-qualification questionnaires and the invitation to tender.  The Buy Social Unit are also happy to provide advice on how to include Buy Social in procurements and can be contacted via info@buysocialni.org. Download the toolkit  

  • Why is Buy Social necessary?

    Buy Social is underpinned by a range of policy initiatives, including the Sustainable Development Strategy for Northern Ireland which has two guiding principles.

    • The first is the environmental principle of ‘living within environmental limits’.
    • The second is ‘ensuring a strong, healthy, just and equal society’ which refers to “promoting personal well-being, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunity”.
    One way that Buy Social contributes to social sustainability is by including targeted recruitment and training opportunities for people who are long-term unemployed or leaving education through public contracts. These opportunities are significant in a context where Northern Ireland’s central and local government spend upwards of £2.7 billion annually on the purchase of supplies, services and construction works. The Northern Ireland Executive’s commitment to social considerations in public procurement is detailed in Procurement Guidance Note (PGN) 01/13 Integrating Social Considerations into Contracts and is applicable to all Northern Ireland Public Procurement Policy (NIPPP) users. In September 2016, PGN 01/13 was revised to reflect the Procurement Board’s endorsement of the Buy Social approach. It advises that:(Buy Social is)
    “the standard approach to be used in the procurement of construction projects [construction build] above £2m and infrastructure projects [construction civil] above £4m”,
    and that:
    “the Buy Social model should be piloted in services contracts with a value exceeding £500,000 with a view to a standard approach being agreed”.
    The Procurement Board discussed the Buy Social Services Model at its meetings on 13 January and 24 February 2017 and following further discussion with a number of Departments the model is now agreed. The model should now be considered in services contracts with an anticipated value of £500,000 per annum or more. Detailed advice and guidance on how to integrate Buy Social into the procurement process is set out in sections 4-12 of PGN 01/13, offering two methods of incorporating Buy Social:
    “Social considerations can be incorporated into public procurement processes and contracts by the following methods:
    • using award criteria linked to the subject matter of the contract; and/or
    • using contract performance clauses linked to the subject matter of the contract.”
      PGN 01/13 also recognises that Departments may wish to consider including wider social value initiatives in contracts and states:
    "There is however, the opportunity for Departments to add their own social or economic goals and extend the inclusion of the Buy Social model to any contract irrespective of value."

  • What is Buy Social?

    Buy Social is a tool to maximise social and economic benefits from public purchasing. One way that this can be achieved is through Targeted Recruitment and Training (TR&T) opportunities. Targeted Recruitment and Training is the term used to describe job opportunities with training that are only available to certain individuals e.g. those who are long term unemployed or leaving education or training, otherwise known as ‘New Entrant Trainees’. It is also possible to design wider, targeted social value initiatives, particularly on smaller value or specialised contracts where Targeted Recruitment and Training may not be suitable.

  • What is a Broker?

    A broker is a training/employability organisation which works with people who are eligible for Buy Social opportunities and are looking for employment, work placement opportunities and/or employment support.  Brokers can set up introductions for Contractors, help with supporting their clients and are often willing to work with a contractor to help them meet their Buy Social requirements.

  • Who is a New Entrant Trainee?

    A New Entrant Trainee is one of the following:

    • a person that is leaving or has, within the last 12 months, left an educational establishment or a training provider (including paid student work placements)
    • a person aged under 25 that has been unemployed for more than 26 weeks and is seeking employment
    • a person aged 25 or over that has been unemployed for more than 52 weeks and is seeking employment
    • an existing ‘New Entrant Trainee’ that is seeking a new position to complete their ‘New Entrant’ period, or another person who is accepted as a New Entrant Trainee by the Client
    A New Entrant Trainee can be in one of the following categories
    • an apprentice who is undertaking a paid apprenticeship, registered within the ApprenticeshipsNI programme or a similar scheme agreed by the Employer, can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 104 weeks.
    • a professional trainee (post-primary degree or equivalent) who is working towards full corporate membership of a professional institution and/or registration body and is registered with an appropriate professional body. These individuals can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 104 weeks.
    • an undergraduate student working towards a primary degree and required by a university or college to undertake a placement in industry to gain relevant training and experience through paid employment. These individuals can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 52 weeks.
    • an other trainee who can be counted as a ‘New Entrant’ for up to 52 weeks. This category can include but are not limited to semi-skilled, operative, administration, health and safety, IT support, business improvement and other support positions.

  • What is the Buy Social Services Model?

    The Buy Social services model has been developed by the Strategic Investment Board and CPD. The Procurement Board discussed the Buy Social Services Model at its meetings on 13 January and 24 February 2017 and, following further discussion with a number of Departments, the model is now agreed. The model should now be considered in services contracts with an anticipated value of £500,000 per annum or more.

  • What is the Buy Social construction model?

    Departments, the construction Centres of Procurement Expertise and representatives from the local construction industry. The model was endorsed by the Procurement Board in November 2015 and came into operation in April 2016. It sets a contractual requirement for a quantifiable number of targeted recruitment and training opportunities for New Entrant Trainees to be provided in Government construction contracts. The requirement is to be delivered by the main contractor and its supply chain.