Sector News
News from the Public Procurement Cafe

Here’s our Friday rundown from our (literal) procurement cafe/bar/cave/biergarten (according to your location) of recent public sector stories, snippets and information from around Europe. Well over a trillion Euros of money from taxpayers and citizens is being spent by governments and public sector bodies, so it’s good to pick up on stories on how it’s being spent.

Do click through and read the full articles that interest you – some of them we will come back to in greater detail in due course.

Social Value in Procurement – New Report and some real positives

According to Social Enterprise UK, “findings from Freedom of Information requests sent to all local authorities in England show that more councils than ever are considering social value when commissioning services: 1 in 3 (33%) now routinely consider social value in their procurement and commissioning, and 1 in 4 (24%) have a social value policy.” But according to Procuring for Good (a new report published by SEUK) the barriers to greater adoption will only be overcome through legislative change. We have written on the subject several times, and we will return to this in more depth next week.

EU transparency register – backdoor left wide open for lobbyists

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced in 2014 that he intended to make all meetings with stakeholders public and commissioners’ schedules available so that EU citizens could see what activity goes on in Brussels. EurActiv Germany reports that “Legal firms have been operating in Brussels for years without registering with the EU’s transparency register, a new study has revealed. However, it seems likely that the European Commission will persevere with voluntary registration,” leaving the back door wise open for “lobbyists to influence EU lawmakers.”

Procurer Study visit to sustainable renovation in Madrid

The EU’s targets for reducing energy consumption of buildings are quite ambitious: to construct zero-energy new buildings by 2020, and renovate existing buildings into nearly zero-energy. In the framework of the iNSPiRe EU project, the International Union of Property Owners (UIPI) and Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) are organising a workshop in Madrid on 24 June 2016. It invites public procurers to visit a sustainably renovated residential building in Madrid. The participants will learn about the latest innovations in the construction market and the process of renovating publicly owned residential buildings. Registration details are here, but you’ll need to be quick as it closes on June 9. There is no fee for this but you will need to fund you own travel and accommodation. Details are here. 

Scottish councils club together to share a chief digital officer

Government Technology reports that “Twenty-five Scottish local authorities are planning to join forces to recruit a shared chief digital officer to work across the sector. The position will establish a digital transformation partnership to improve how local services work and how councils serve citizens, with the chief digital officer setting the long-term digital direction for local government.” It looks like the recognition of the importance of a CDO to help keep up with the digital age and consumer behaviour is on the rise, even in the public sector.

UK Government SME challenge – not convincing 

The Times reports (behind the paywall) that a “parliamentary committee has poured scorn on the government’s claims that it has boosted public spending with small businesses.” The public accounts committee said it was not convinced that central government procurement has boosted the award of more work to SMEs, in fact, it implies that it has “lost momemtum” in this regard, even though the Cabinet Office has “boasted that government is spending an “unprecedented” amount with smaller businesses.” There’s more on The Times website.