Fresh Pastures is a Community Interest Company (CIC) set up by 2 people who wanted to take a more innovative approach to providing milk to schools. As well as providing local milk they also wanted to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities and the long-term unemployed. 25% of its workforce comprises people with a disability and the remainder are recruited from the long-term unemployed. Any profit is ring-fenced for social benefit and ploughed back into the company.
What did you do?
In 2007 contracts for the provision of fresh milk with YPO, a purchasing consortium for local authorities, were due for renewal. Wakefield Council was keen to work with YPO to establish new contracts that took account of sustainability issues. YPO and Wakefield Council procurement team worked together to develop a procurement process that recognised social benefits. 5% of the total award criteria were based on sustainable and community focused benefits. They also aimed to ensure a range of suppliers could bid by:- • Holding a tender clarification session where they responded to questions around the tender process and specification • Holding engagement events across the business community to raise awareness about procurement opportunities and give non-traditional contractors support and guidance on the procurement process The Social Enterprise Support Centre also helped third sector organisations to develop their tendering skills. Fresh Pastures was one of two successful tenderers awarded framework contracts. Dairy Farmers was the other successful contractor – a co-operative of regional and national dairy farmers.
Environmental – minimising food miles, recyclable cartons Social – employment policy Educational– as well as providing children with milk at school, they use the cartons to educate young people on healthy living, good dietary planning, environmental issues, social inclusion, equal opportunities and disability awareness. Economic– local produce, community focus. In a commissioning related SROI impact mapping exercise, Fresh Pastures identified that for every £1 of contract deliverable, 59p of social return would also be derived in environmental, educational and employment benefits.