There are usually three ways to record whether or not a procurement meets a sustainability threshold:
In many cases, it is acceptable for a buyer to simply report that a contract is meeting the established social procurement policy, for instance if a buyer will afford more weighting to a female owned business, then it is appropriate for the buyer to record that this procurement meets a threshold for encouraging female entrepreneurs.
In this situation the buyer should be able to record this status within the process of publishing data about the contract and buyers will have access to a publishing system with features that record social procurement activity.
Where there is an appropriate authority dedicated to monitoring a policy initiative, for example a department dedicated to advancing the cause of veterans, they may choose to provide an authentication service where they authenticate the contracts let by buyers and declare that a contract or contracts meet their agreed standard. This sort of authentication is common in business and is usually applied at an organizational level, rather than at an individual contract level.
Where independent reporting is used, it is necessary for the authority to be able to publish a list of organizations that meet the required threshold and for how long that status should apply to the given agency. Buyers should be careful to record their own identity consistently when publishing records so that they can be linked to any list published by the independent authority.
Where policy can be evaluated using published metrics it is possible to automatically determine whether a contract meets the required policy threshold. For instance, if a policy requires buyers to afford 10% of each bid’s scoring to the amount of carbon to be saved during a contract, then if that feature is accessible, a computer algorithm can automatically tag that contract as meeting the policy threshold.
Sometimes it can be difficult to make the data points accessible, for instance, where data is featured within a body of text, or in an attached document it can be difficult to turn into measurable data. In these circumstances, more advanced projects can use machine learning algorithms to extract data and then determine whether the correct information is being included.
Authorities responsible for establishing policies should consider mechanisms for validating reporting of social procurement to ensure that a policy is being established correctly. Random sampling and other techniques can be used to make sure that buyers aren’t overstating their commitment to social procurement.