Procurement isn’t neutral – it can either support wellbeing or leave space for systems to unintentionally entrench inequitable outcomes. In aligning procurement with people’s innate drive for wellbeing, we can support durable change at the level of an individual or family as well as address inequities in programs and systems.
In the United States, systems default towards programs and processes that are inequitable. Racism, sexism, homophobia and other oppressions are baked into our structures, including government, and they are perpetuated by the programs we fund – often under the guise of help.
Procurement processes and monitoring are key players in the narratives that shape how our systems operate. When bidders are rewarded for telling stories about saving broken people, we get more programs, rules and processes that focus on the individual and perpetuate inequities.
When we shift procurement to focus on wellbeing, we can fundamentally change how our systems operate by directing funds to bidders who are doing transformational work.
Interested in doing things differently in your procurement process? Contracting for Transformation outlines six principles for making procurement more equitable and includes tangible tools, such as questions to pose to bidders and scoring guides.
Although originally designed for human services, Contracting Transformation has applications across diverse fields including the built environment, healthcare, justice systems and more.
Learn about how the Full Frame Initiative is partnering with the city of New London, CT to demonstrate how you can transform a city to focus on wellbeing — without layering on new bureaucracy.
Looking for ideas on where to start? Here are some examples:
In our experience, one of the biggest impacts on increased access to wellbeing is for awards recipients to have the flexibility to pay for what would most enable access to wellbeing as scenarios arise.
This not only allows for better buy-in, but actually creates a better project, program or product. The people most impacted have the deepest understanding of the tradeoffs (wellbeing costs) involved.
Learn how to design procurement processes to focus on equitable access to wellbeing so that you can direct funds to bidders who are doing transformational work. Here are some ideas for how to apply wellbeing design principles to your procurement process.