New EU procurement rules could result in some contracts being ‘reserved’ for social enterprises

I am indebted to Tony Clabby at the Digbeth Trust for unearthing this in a LinkedIn discussion thread…

Social Enterprise UK is currently claiming that its recent report, Out of the Shadows, has prompted consideration of dramatic reforms to EU procurement laws that could see certain kinds of contracts ‘reserved’ for social enterprises for a time-limited period (possibly as long as three years).

SEUK’s report says that if enacted the new rules would “enable public bodies to reserve the award of many health, social and cultural services contracts exclusively to social enterprises for a time-limited period. This could potentially be the most significant change to procurement practice in decades (p.9/10).”

Speaking about the campaign, SEUK chief exec Peter Holbrook has said, “These new EU rules…recognise that public service markets don’t always put people first.  The laws could make a positive contribution at a critical time – currently the UK’s public sector markets and contracts are too heavily weighted in favour of private companies who are on a money mission and the consequences are being felt by ordinary people – the taxpayer, workers and service users – who are being short changed.”

The story is covered here in Public Sector Executive News and here on the SEUK website.

The proposed changes are contained in this EU Proposal for a Directive.


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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