The Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) Agency Workers contract included social value as an award criterion in the tender process. A question on social value was included in the Invitation to Tender and was allocated 5% of the quality score. This was the first time that social value had been included as award criterion on this contract.
The social value included was linked to the NICS People Strategy priority action: “an inclusive NICS in which diversity is truly valued – a great place to work.” The NICS People Strategy also calls for “targeted action to drive balance and inclusion.” The social value requirements mean that the contractor is required to ring-fence employment opportunities on the contract for key priority groups: people with a disability, people from a care background and people from a minority ethnic background.
The contract also included the following social value requirements:
Premiere People was awarded Lots 1,2,4,5 and 8 of the contract. Since the contract went live on 25th January 2021 Premiere People have been delivering against the social value targets. They have worked with Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment (NIUSE) to proactively encourage people with a disability to apply for temporary roles within the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Premiere and NIUSE hosted an information session to over 30 organisations who support people with disabilities on 24th March 2021. This was followed up with an information session for participants and their support workers on Wednesday 21st April 2021.
Helen Whiteside Premiere People said:
We are extremely proud to demonstrate our ability to deliver Social Value to the Northern Ireland Civil Service. We will work with NICS to promote equal opportunities and a fair and inclusive jobs market where every individual can participate and achieve their full potential.
Edyth Dunlop from NIUSE commented:
We have been working with the team at Premiere People in the previous contract and in the new contract. There have been many success stories of disabled people getting temporary posts in the NICS. We have developed a great partnership with Premiere People which has been a win win situation for all parties – disabled people getting in to employment, NICS getting excellent staff and Premiere People fulfilling their Social Value commitment. We want to share this experience with other contractors and help them meet their Social Value commitments.
Michael who secured employment on the contract with the support of Disability Action said:
Nuala talked through the job opportunity with me thoroughly and kept me and my Supported Employment Officer from Disability Action in the loop throughout the whole process. Nuala showed care and compassion to what support I may require in the workplace and liaised very closely with my Supported Employment Officer regarding particular reasonable adjustments that might be needed and conveyed these to the employer. I am now settling into my new job and I am very happy so thank you Nuala on behalf of myself and my Supported Employment Officer.