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STUC 2013 Perth

Procurement: Public money should be spent for Public Good

Jane Aitchison
Jane Aitchison

Congress welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to new legislation on public procurement and called on them to work with the STUC to shift the focus from cost to quality and sustainability in public sector contracts.

This should include an end to tax avoidance by companies delivering public sector contracts, apprenticeships leading to jobs and pension provision for workers. Companies who blacklist workers should be barred from such contracts and there should be a commitment from tendering companies to pay the living wage.

UNISON's Jane Aitchison told delegates: "There is a very simple, but very important, principle at the heart of this composite. Public money should be spent for Public Good"

"We believe every penny should be spent with as wide a set of social priorities in mind as possible.
As the composite states – public procurement accounts for £11bn of spending a year. We should be absolutely clear that we intend to get as much social value for our money as is possible.

"So when Government or public bodies are deciding on procurement they should be able to give preference to suppliers who will pay a living wage. They should be allowed to specify the provision of apprenticeships and sustainable employment.

"They should be allowed to insist on environmentally friendly working practices. And Congress while public bodies – when they are spending our money – should be allowed to specify what should happen – they should be allowed to specify what does not.

"Companies should be made well aware that if they are involved in blacklisting. - they will be excluded from bidding for public contracts. Not a penny of public money for blacklisters – that’s a message we must make the Scottish Government listen to", said Jane.

"Congress - it happens elsewhere - Helsinki and Paris both use mechanisms that ensure that companies have to be corporate citizens rather than corporate exiles before they get public money.
If the political will exists - it can happen here.

"But Congress we might need to provide that political will. Before the election we were promised a Sustainable Procurement Bill - instead the we get a Procurement Reform Bill and an obvious desire on the part of ministers to provide 'opportunities for Scottish Business'. Those businesses are already saying that the Bill should include a 'right to bid' for any service or contract.

"Congress - we need a procurement bill that will work for Scotland’s people
not a privatisers charter."

17 April 2013

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