Public buyers increasingly see the potential of procurement to contribute to social policy goals and use the purchasing of goods, works and services to ensure positive social outcomes. As a result, for the first time, the Big Buyers Initiative will have a community of practice on socially responsible public procurement (SRPP). 7 members from 7 different countries are currently being onboarded in the community.
The Needs Assessment undertaken by Big Buyers Working Together showed that public buyers working on SRPP are mainly interested in monitoring work conditions, including gender equality aspects in contracts, supply chain management, increasing opportunities for people with disabilities, online safety regulations and the inclusion of social considerations in different product groups.
As the improvement of working conditions was by far the most pressing issue, exploratory discussions focused on which product groups could be the most relevant for addressing this. Construction, textiles and food were identified as key sectors, other ones will be explored during the activities of the CoP. These first discussions also showed that the key activities of the Community of Practice will focus on sharing criteria and adapting them to the national market, developing and monitoring contract clauses, market dialogues, site visits, and expert meetings.
In addition to boosting employment opportunities, achieving gender equality, providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities or vulnerabilities, and monitoring working conditions SRPP can also be a strategic tool for creating incentives for employers to engage in more responsible and sustainable management of the production process and employment of workers. Public procurers interested in the topic still have the opportunity to join the CoP. If you work for a Public Authority, and you think that you could provide added value to the CoP and benefit from it, then you are welcome to express your interest by sending an email to Big Buyers Working Together Secretariat, at firstname.lastname@example.org