East Antrim Alliance Assembly candidate Stewart Dickson addressed the Social Enterprise conference on Thursday (January 26).
The former chairperson for the Assembly All-Party Group on Social Enterprise, Mr Dickson spoke to a packed conference of over 150 people.
He opened the conference by commending the work of Social Enterprise NI in promoting Social Value across Northern Ireland.
Mr Dickson said: “Northern Ireland is fortunate to host some of the finest examples of social enterprises anywhere on these islands.
“I was privileged to work as Chairperson of the All Party Group. With this position, and with support from all political parties, I made significant progress in bringing forward a Social Value Act in Northern Ireland.
“The Department of Finance’s assurances that a Social Value Act would be forthcoming were welcome news. This was thrown into doubt however when an election was called.”
Mr Dickson concluded: “With the support of Social Enterprise NI, if re-elected, I pledge to personally introduce a Bill for a Social Value Act.
“I hope this pledge will go some way in combatting the uncertainty around Social Value legislation.”
A Social Value Act would allow public service procurement to assess value based on economic, social, and environmental considerations; not just the cheapest option.