Assessing the impact of social procurement policies for Indigenous people

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Construction Management and Economics, 2020, 38, (12), pp. 1139-1157
Issue Date:
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© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Governments of highly developed western nations with colonised Indigenous populations such as Australia, Canada and South Africa are increasingly turning to social procurement policies in an attempt to solve social inequities between Indigenous people and other citizens. They seek to use policies and funds attached to infrastructure development and construction to encourage private sector companies to provide training, employment and business opportunities for Indigenous people in the communities in which construction occurs. This paper outlines the rise of these policies and their origins, and critiques their connection to Indigenous people’s human rights, impact measurement, evaluation and accountability mechanisms. In doing so this paper also explores benefits and potential of social procurement policies, as well as risks. Drawing on insights from an Aboriginal-developed evaluation framework, Ngaa-bi-nya, and Indigenous Standpoint Theory, this paper highlights Indigenous peoples’ definitions of value and outlines their relevance to social procurement. Introducing the notion of cultural counterfactuals into social impact measurement research, it also offers a new conceptual framework to enable policymakers and practitioners to more accurately account for social procurement value and impact, including Indigenous people’s notions of social value.
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