Deep dive

12 March 2019

Malmö meets public authorities to train contract management muscle

Cities and National Governments that want to use procurement as a tool to achieve social responsibility goals such as inclusion and employment, need the knowledge of how to ensure that these objectives are being met in practice. The European Public Procurement Directives of 2014 see public procurement as a strategic tool that includes social aspects. The key challenge, however, when tendering and awarding a contract is to include criteria that actually result in the desired social outcomes. This is why contract management is a key aspect of successful socially responsible public procurement (SRPP).

Procura+ Network Chair the City of Malmö recently invited public procurement professionals from across Europe to discuss purchasing cleaning and transportation services, market analysis before tendering, criteria for the evaluation of tenders and –in the spot light- successful contract management approaches.

During the event, the City of Malmö presented their approach to contract management for strategic, sustainable public procurement. The city recently awarded a contract for mobility services for mobility impaired citizens. The tender included a contract clause that the awarded bidder develops a plan on how they are planning to achieve the foreseen social objectives, such as integrating workers with difficulties of finding a job. Procurers, sustainability managers, and inclusion commissioners from the City regularly meet with the contracted service provider to give feedback on their plan and ensure social goals are consistently being met.

Procura+ participant the City of Haarlem recently awarded a contract for day cleaning desktop services. It aims to improve the working conditions for cleaning staff. Haarlem regularly discusses with the contractor how to ensure the city’s ‘Social Return on Investment’ policy is fulfilled in the contract, using 5% of the contract value for integrative measures for people with difficulties integrating in the workforce.

All participating authorities agreed that collaboration with suppliers is key to ensure social objectives are implemented. A key need identified is to ensure sufficient professional staff capacity for inspection and follow up during the contract. If suppliers already know that certain requirements of the contract will not be monitored, they will not take them seriously.  

The study visit, attended by local and national authorities from Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Czech Republic and Slovakia, was organised as part of the European project UrbanWINS and in cooperation with the Procura+ European Sustainable Procurement Network. It is the third of a series of staff exchanges, the CityMatch programme. To learn more about CityMatch and UrbanWINS visit the website.

Resources on successful SRPP can be found in our resource centre.