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Met social value initiative to target diverse businesses in contract awards

The Met's Commercial Services department is engaging in initiatives to increase the proportion of its spend on minority and other diverse business organisations.

The Met's Commercial Services department, which spends over £850m a year, is working with Minority Supplier Development UK to try and get more of that outlay into Black and other minority-owned businesses as part of its commitment to adding in social value to its contract awards.

Diverse companies are being specifically targeted as potential new suppliers and grass-roots organisations targeting those in need are getting big cash injections as part of the range of initiatives from the Commercial Services Department

Minority Supplier Development UK helps to identify and support diverse businesses in establishing relationships with prospective clients. Through this link-up, the Met is aiming to direct 20% of total spend to such organisations by the financial year 2024-25 - double its current target.

The force's Director of Commercial Services, Mark Roberts, said: "If we can increase the proportion of our spend on minority and other diverse business organisations in London, that might help increase employment, and if we can support community-based organisations in providing vital services it might go some way to addressing crime across the capital and help individuals make positive life decisions at a critical moment."

So far around £1 million has been generated as a result of the Met's suppliers being asked to divert up to 1% of the value of their contracts to community-based organisations.

The first two organisations to benefit from this initiative are Redthread and Groundwork, which have been awarded nearly £100,000.

Redthread specialises in breaking cycles of violence and exploitation for young people, including supporting those treated in A&E for violence injuries; while Groundwork is a federation of charities mobilising practical community action on poverty and the environment.

The Met's Crime Prevention, Inclusion and Engagement Directorate is in the process of determining which organisations will be considered for the funding.

Mr Roberts added: "I’m a firm believer that the commercial department in an organisation can deliver benefits outside its own four walls for the wider community.

"All of these initiatives are about supporting and diverting value to organisations whose aims align with ours, which is ultimately to help keep London safe."

A minimum of 10% of all commercial tenders to the Met must now contain questions related to social value activities, with the aim of learning how potential suppliers are driving progress on issues such as the London Living Wage, apprenticeships and modern slavery.

The force is also introducing a Supplier Code of Conduct outlining expectations around behaviours and ethics expected of them, which will include guidance on areas such as addressing and preventing violence towards women and girls.

Mr Roberts will discuss the work has had undertaken during his tenure at the annual Black Business Show on October 20. 

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