Councils should use procurement to boost local economies, think-tank says

By William Eichler | 07 December 2021

Local authorities should strive to be more ethical and place-sensitive when buying goods and services, a think-tank has said.

A new report from Localis urged local authorities to use their spending power to promote ethical outcomes and benefit their communities.

Councils spent more than £180bn on goods and services from third parties in the last three years.

Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: ‘Procurement has been very much a criminally-neglected art, whose skills and potential impact are more vital now than ever post-Brexit.

‘The extent to which better public service commissioning can improve public efficiency and social benefits to communities is seen as a niche issue.

'But, nearly a decade after the Social Value Act, as a positive force for shaping and improving the daily life of ordinary people everywhere, it can’t be bettered.

‘The trick for the next decade will be to boost the value of the local pound in making local economies stronger for people and places – whether through better local wages or enhanced skills acquisition for jobs in the age of net-zero.’

Localis researcher and report author, Callin McLinden, added: ‘Public procurement has immense potential for recovery and levelling up – and now finds itself in its most exciting, yet precarious, moment for decades.' 

Local government must mark a decade of social value with purpose-driven procurement, writes Mr Werran

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