£1 billion University Challenge
Published Friday 8th June 2012
UK universities should spend at least £1 billion of the £7 billion per annum they currently spend on procuring goods and services from external suppliers, on social enterprises
Professor Nick Petford, The University of Northampton's Vice Chancellor will unveil his "£1 billion University Challenge" at a Westminster reception on 12 June 2012.
Professor Petford said: "The social enterprise sector needs to know it can get high value, long-term contracts, in order to give it the confidence it needs to attract investment and grow. The Higher Education sector is going to be leading the public sector in the way it uses its procurement power to support the social enterprise sector."
Professor Nick Petford also added: "Buying from social enterprise suppliers means the Higher Education sector gets two things for the price of one - the University gets the product or service it requires, but it also helps deliver social value through the social enterprise. For example, one of our social enterprise partners, Goodwill Solutions, supplies office furniture to the University. Every time we buy a desk from Goodwill, the University gets the product it wants and Goodwill is able to continue to employ ex-offenders, therefore contributing to a reduction in re-offending in the local area. For this country to transform its services through social enterprise the sector must develop and the £1 billion University Challenge is crucial to that."
Professor Petford's proposal has already earned the backing of a number of key figures in the Higher Education and social enterprise sectors.
Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE):
"The £1 billion University Challenge is an excellent example of the innovative ways in which universities and colleges are contributing to economic growth. The scheme aims to support local and regional economies, and to bring wider social and community benefits, while helping universities and colleges to develop efficient, sustainable procurement practices which deliver their aims and objectives. HEFCE encourages universities and colleges to consider how they might become involved."
Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive, Social Enterprise UK:
"All organisations - public, private and voluntary - can improve their social impact through getting social enterprises into their supply chains. We are very excited about this initiative from the University of Northampton and are delighted to see them leading the way with real ambition."