Green Paper on helping charities bid for public procurement contracts

The Cabinet Office has published a consultation document (Green Paper), "which asks for views on how the Government can create a level playing field for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that want to bid for public service contracts".

One of the key questions to which responses are invited is this:

How could commissioners use assessments of full social, environmental and economic value to inform their commissioning decisions?

  • Encourage understanding of social and environmental priorities of local people to be considered in the commissioning process; and
  • Support the ‘Social enterprise and Social Value’ Bill which would require the recognition of ‘full value’ as part of mainstream commissioning practice.
  • This leads into some interesting questions around the constraints of EU procurement regulations. If issues such as  "social and environmental priorities of local people" can be clearly linked to 'best whole life value for money' or 'most economically advantageous tender' in EU speak, then they are perfectly allowable evaluation factors within a procurement.  If, however, they are used as proxies for selecting purely local suppliers for instance, and shutting out competition from other EU countries or even other regions of the UK, then one would expect the EU to take a somewhat dim view of this.

    I intend to read the whole Green Paper this weekend so will let you know if there is anything else of interest in there.

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