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New practical guidance to help public buyers integrate social considerations into public procurement

New practical guidance to help public buyers integrate social considerations into public procurement
Published on: 27/05/2021
The European Commission has released new guidance for European contracting authorities on how to introduce social criteria into public tenders.

This second edition of ‘Buying social: A guide to taking account of social considerations in public procurement’ provides practical indications for public buyers to consider the social impact of the goods, services, and works they purchase. The guide is updated to reflect the changes brought about by the 2014 EU directives on public procurement and includes suggestions on how to use public procurement to achieve social goals. It covers the entire procurement process step-by-step, including information on how to set up an organisational strategy for socially responsible public procurement (SRPP), how to plan the tender procedure, as well as elements of contract management. To inspire public buyers, as well as other government and non-governmental stakeholders, each section also includes best practice examples and practical takeaways.

Background

The economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing green and digital transitions have made it increasingly important for public authorities to address social challenges and to step up their efforts to deliver a sustainable future. Public buyers are major investors in Europe, currently spending over 14% of the EU’s gross domestic product. By using their purchasing power to opt for goods and services that deliver positive social outcomes, they can make a major contribution to sustainable development.

The 2014 EU directives on public procurement created a flexible legal framework for the use of SRPP, facilitating its use to pursue various social objectives, such as job creation and inclusion opportunities for different groups of people; fair treatment of workers regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion or disability; promoting human rights due diligence in global supply chains; facilitating the access of social businesses to procurement opportunities; and providing inclusive, efficient social services.