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Wellbeing Design Principles in Procurement

Procurement has the power to change the landscape of our systems. Designing procurement to focus on equitable access to wellbeing can help you harness this important lever for social change by:

  • Directing funds to bidders who are doing transformational work.
  • Eliminating programs, rules and processes that perpetuate inequities.
  • Telling new stories about communities that uplift assets and what’s already working.

Wondering where to start? Here are some ideas for how to apply wellbeing design principles to your procurement process. Where appropriate, make sure the bidders you are considering are applying these principles as well.

Ready to dive in and begin implementing in your next procurement? Download our Contracting for Transformation Toolkit for examples, scoring guides and other tools.

Principle 1: Start with what matters to people: wellbeing.

Principle 2: Design and implement with, not for.

  • Partner with those most impacted by decisions to determine what’s needed, how it should be designed, and how it should be implemented.
  • Hire staff who know the community and reflect the community that will be impacted by your procurement.

Principle 3: Heal and regenerate.

  • Learn about the history of the issue you’re procuring to address and make sure that you’re understanding it from the perspective of those who bear the history.
  • Use restorative and transformative practices. Seek to repair harm and put in place measures that would prevent future harm.
  • In your RFR/RFP, use person-centered language that recognizes that people have multiple identities beyond “homeless,” “survivor,” etc.

Principle 4: Foster social connections and social capital.

  • Ensure that what you’re procuring for doesn’t inadvertently undermine the social connectedness, belonging and social capital that already exist in the community.
  • If possible, create environments and opportunities to support the development of new relationships across differences of identity, experience and power.
  • If in human services, consider first if there are ways to support people helping people outside of programs, including removing obstacles for family/community members.

Principle 5: Span boundaries.

  • Explore whether funding can be blended with other funding to support cross-field partnerships.
  • Expect to contract with community organizations and businesses who are collaborating with each other.
  • Bonus points for those who submit applications jointly.
  • Identify how what you’re procuring for may create barriers in other areas.
  • Involve people connected with identities and affiliations who are not usually consulted.

Principle 6: Build (on) assets and innovation.

  • Identify what is already working well for people and communities and consider how to support that.
  • Ensure that what you’re procuring for builds on and doesn’t supplant what is already available in the community.
  • Rather than adding something new through your procurement, consider taking something away.
  • Allow for space and flexibility for experimentation and innovation.
  • Fund a learning and innovation cohort of organizations who receive funding.

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