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Public procurement accounts for about 17% of EU gross domestic product. Its leverage in areas such as social policy is thus considerable. With its Guide to Taking Account of Social Considerations in Public Procurement, the European Commission aims to capitalise on this by (a) raising contracting authorities' awareness on the benefits of opting for goods and services delivering good social outcomes and (b) explaining the opportunities offered by the existing EU legal framework to take into account social considerations in public procurement. The Guide defines socially responsible public procurement (SRPP) before explaining its benefits. It looks at SRPP in relation to the EU social model and the legal and policy approach to the subject in the Union. The Guide also elaborates an SRPP strategy and explains how to identify needs and plan procurement procedures. The Guide also explains from a legal perspective, how social considerations may be addressed at the different stages of the procurement process (from defining technical specifications and selection criteria, to awarding contracts and monitoring subsequent performance). National examples are provided to illustrate different steps within the process.
Read also: Buying Green! – A Handbook on environmental public procurement