Cities exchanging on strategic usage of public procurement in Nantes

  • economy

From 30 November to 1 December, more than 22 city representatives met in Nantes to discuss ways to promote social inclusion through public procurement.

André Sobczak, vice president of Nantes Metropole, opened the seminar by saying: “How cities contract services is not solely an economic matter, it also has a strong social and environmental dimension.”

Procurement consultant Abby Semple introduced the topic by explaining the changes brought about by the EU’s 2014 directives in the field of socially responsible public procurement.

Participants exchanged good practices and discussed inclusive, quality employment; ways to use reserved contracts; and involvement of companies in social responsibility initiatives. The presentations contained concrete examples of tenders and contracts that entail a social objective. This included different ways of creating jobs for marginalised groups through public contracts or preventing social dumping and corporate crime in work and service contracts of cities.

The seminar concluded with a panel discussion involving Marie-Christine Vergiat MEP (GUE-NGL, France); Martine de Regge, deputy mayor of Ghent; André Sobczak, vice president of Nantes Metropole; Anna Lupi from European Commission DG Grow and Christine Jakob from the European Public Service Union.

Anna Lupi said that since 14% of the EU’s GDP is spent on public procurement, it is important this tool is used strategically and responsibly.
Marie-Christine Verigat MEP said: “The European Parliament clearly demonstrated the conviction that public procurement can be a tool for social and environmental objectives.”
Christine Jakob especially mentioned the importance of collaboration between cities and trade unions on the topic socially responsible public procurement. She further highlighted the need of guidance and training from the EC in order to ensure legal security for local authorities.
The politicians moreover discussed what is needed for local authorities to foster socially responsible buying.
“You have to take risks and dare to be creative to make socially responsible public procurement a reality”, concluded Martine de Regge, deputy mayor of Ghent.

All presentations and documents from the event can be found here (member login required).

Photos of the event are available here.

EUROCITIES staff contact

Marie RantyPolicy advisor