20 March 2019

Malmö meets public authorities to ‘train their muscle’ in contract management

Cities and National Governments that want to use procurement as a tool to achieve social responsibility goals such as inclusion and employment need the necessary knowledge to ensure that these objectives are being met in practice.

The 2014 European Public Procurement Directives see public procurement as a strategic tool that naturally includes social aspects. However, the key challenge 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).

ICLEI Member and Procura+ Network Chair the City of Malmö (Sweden) 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 in the workforce.

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 (The Netherlands) 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 a long distance to the work market.

All participating authorities agreed that collaboration with suppliers is key to ensuring 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.

‘ICLEI's CityMatch programme allows for in-depth exchange on challenges and needs when implementing sustainable public procurement. Meeting in small groups with the right experts makes this format so inspiring - replication guaranteed,’ said Philipp Tepper, Procura+ Network Manager, ICLEI Europe.

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.

To learn more about CityMatch and UrbanWINS, click here.