Can public procurement reduce poverty?

A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation says it can and calls on all public sector bodies in the UK to use every £1m-worth of contract value that they spend to create a year’s work for a young from a target disadvantaged community.

A nation-wide pledge to do this would, the report says, have a substantial impact on poverty and unemployment in the most deprived communities and groups.

www_jrf_org_uk_sites_files_jrf_poverty-procurement-social-mobility-full_pdfThe report, by independent researcher Richard Macfarlane and BSSEC members Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP can be download in full and in summary from the JRF website.

The £193m Library of Birmingham contract is one of the case studies in the report. This contract — an example of ‘social value’ commissioning that significantly predates the present legislation — created 306 jobs, including 82 apprenticeships, and 54% of these opportunities went to Birmingham residents in priority areas of the city.

There is also an accompanying legal guide which Anthony Collins partner Mark Cook says is a stand-alone document but can also be viewed as a legal appendix to the JRF report. Social Value & Public Procurement: A Legal Guide  can be downloaded from the Anthony Collins website.

Regional launches of the JRF report are also planned and there will be an event in Birmingham on the 23rd June 2014 — more news on that as and when we receive it.

Full report


Background information

→ Legal guide


Birmingham UK. Freelance research, evaluation and policy consultant specialising in social enterprise and the third sector. I maintain the BSSEC blog and website

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