The public sector in Scotland spends a significant amount of money each year and, understandably, there is growing interest in examining ways in which this expenditure can be used to deliver wider social, environmental and economic benefits. This report illustrates the scope to incorporate social benefits in public procurement contracts, helping to maximise the impact of public spending. In particular the report focuses on the scope to take account of wider community benefits such as targeted recruitment and training, during public procurement processes.
The report draws on the experiences of a number of public authorities in Scotland, most of whom are located in areas that have suffered from a high degree of deprivation. Pilot participants have used community benefit clauses in contracts that would traditionally have been limited to construction and social care requirements. Through using such clauses they have been able to provide recruitment and training opportunities for some of those furthest from the labour market.
The report highlights the need to align investment in learning and skills with the needs of individuals, employers and the wider economy. It also provides practical examples of how to use community benefit clauses in public procurement projects, providing a clear route for public bodies wishing to include such clauses in contracts and helping ensure that public bodies are aware of the key issues which need to be addressed if these clauses are to deliver results while complying with EU procurement law.
The report and accompanying guidance contribute to the strategic objective to create a wealthier and fairer Scotland. We would, therefore, like to recommend this report to all public officials involved in commissioning and procuring as it gives practical guidance on how social clauses can be incorporated into public contracts in compliance with legal, policy and value for money obligations.
John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth
Pat Watters, President, COSLA