Civil society groups demand ethical public procurement

  • 30 Apr 2015
  • General News
New public procurement rules in Scotland should help tackle tax dodging, blacklisting and climate change, according to a coalition of civil society coalitions.

International development charities, environmental groups, voluntary organisations and trade unions joined together today (Thursday) to demand that Scotland’s annual procurement spend of around £10 billion should promote key sustainable and ethical policy objectives.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, NIDOS, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum, the STUC and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland published ten updated priorities for forthcoming new procurement regulations and guidance.

Alistair Dutton, Director of SCIAF, a member of NIDOS and SCCS, said: “Our coalitions are urging the Scottish Government to ensure the strongest possible new procurement regulations and guidance.
“The public does not want irresponsible companies to be awarded public contracts.

“We need to ensure that public money is used to build a strong, healthy and just society, that protects the environment and recognises the positive effects procurement can have for people living beyond our borders.”

The five coalitions are responding to a Scottish Government consultation on changes to public procurement rules which will see new regulations and guidance that implement changes from new European Directives and the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014.

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said: “During discussions over the Procurement Reform Bill, the then Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made a number of commitments in respect of our priorities, including a specific commitment to publish guidance on the living wage.

“It is essential that the Scottish Government now advances its Fair Work agenda by removing bad employers from the procurement process. No blacklisting, tax avoiding or low wage employer should get near a public contract.”

The ten asks also include action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improved protections for workers, such as ending zero hours contracts, ethical and fair trading policies all down the procurement supply chain and raising standards in health and social care.

John Downie, Director of Public Affairs with SCVO, said: “Public bodies’ procurement strategies should spell out the high standards expected of contractors.

“It is particularly important to drive up standards in services for vulnerable people, where quality is so important but we have too often seen a ‘race to the bottom’.

“These ten asks provide a framework for embedding sustainable and ethical considerations at the heart of the procurement process.”