Social Value

Information for suppliers on social value initiatives. 


Annually the Education Authority (EA) establishes contracts worth approximately £354.64m, the majority of which are on behalf of schools and other educational establishments within Northern Ireland.

This expenditure offers tremendous potential to contribute to the economic, environmental and social outcomes contained in the NI Executive’s Programme for Government and works towards meeting the EA’s Strategic Priorities.

Initiatives to deliver Social Value, focus on four social value themes:

  • • Increasing secure employment and skills
  • • Building ethical and resilient supply chains
  • • Delivering zero carbon
  • • Promoting Well-being

Social value policy within contracts is now mandated by the NI Executive. We have been working with the Strategic Investment Board (SIB), and internal Services to implement Social Value initiatives within contracts for the benefit of our children and young people.

Suppliers who take a proactive approach to delivering social value can contribute to their own corporate social responsibility, as well as delivering social value that benefits children and young people including:

  • wider and more resilient supply chains;
  • a more diverse, healthy and engaged workforce;
  • perhaps more sustainable practices benefiting not only the environment, and
  • have the potential to make financial savings for suppliers who adapt these initiatives as part of their wider operations.

Examples of social value outcomes that have already been achieved through EA’s contracts can be found in our Procurement case studies section.

Social Value Initiatives

Social Value can be met in many ways, and EA is piloting contractual clauses which focus on social value initiatives / activities that directly benefit our children and young people.

Initiatives include:

Work Placements

Work placements offer opportunities for the individual young person to experience the world of work and develop their employability skills.  The work placements offered by EA’s suppliers will be across various industries and locations and will cover numerous different types of work.

For details of EAs contracts that will have work placements and other social value benefits schools should review the Current Contracts - Social Value NI website for contracts which include social value and engage directly with the supplier.

In addition, suppliers may contact local schools directly, informing them of any placements available, along with details of any specific requirements of the placement that will help you identify the best student to put forward.

Suppliers will be familiar with the contract requirement and as the social value clauses and initiatives are tailored to the specific contract and level of the contract spend will determine the number of placements / initiatives that the supplier must deliver. EA would advise that school engage early with the suppliers to reserve placements. 

To be indemnified by EA for any work placements undertaken, Controlled, Maintained and Irish Medium Schools must fully adhere to the EA Work Experience Arrangements for Controlled, Maintained and Irish Medium Schools. All arrangements for Work Placements will be between the supplier and the schools directly.

Other Examples of Social Value Initiatives

Potential social value initiatives that are included within contracts for suppliers to deliver are listed below.

Schools could consider engaging the suppliers within the attached link Current Contracts - Social Value NI website to implement learning and development opportunities, i.e., offering career advice such as CV creation, or interview training.




Potential Initiatives

Potential Outcomes Per £100k of contract spend

Work Experience

Work placements for children and young people from EA education and youth setting.

4 weeks unpaid placement

Training & Learning & Skills (General)

Business development and knowledge sharing for children and young people from EA education and youth setting.

Donation of time to support Schools, Youth or EOTAS Centres.

8 hours of support or training


Training & Learning & Skills (General)

Environmental awareness initiatives delivered to for children and young people from EA education and youth setting.

8 hours of support or improvement

Training & Learning & Skills increase digital skills

Offer training sessions for children and young people from EA education and youth setting i.e. digital awareness, including coding. Promote Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

8 hours of training

Employability workshop

Employability workshop or event within EA education and youth setting.

8 hours of support or training

Improve & support health and well being of Children and young people

Initiatives to influence children and young people from EA education and youth setting to support health and wellbeing, including physical and mental health e.g. seminars/ learning interventions/initiatives that improve wellbeing.

8 hours of support

Information for EA Suppliers

Suppliers considering social value initiative within their contracts should contact the Education Authority’s Contract Manager to discuss potential initiatives and standard templates for contacting Schools, Youth Centres and EOTAS Centres.

For further information and guidance on delivering social value, Buy Social NI website is a useful resource.

Public Sector Contracts

Public sector contracts outside of EA have Social Value requirements that may be linked to children and young people. For further details of these contracts and potential opportunities for children and young people visit the Strategic Investment Board website.

Contact Details

For further information or if you have any queries, please contact the relevant Procurement Category Team.

Last updated: 17/04/2024