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Council buying power pledge: Public money to deliver more public benefits

Renfrewshire Council will step up its drive for fairer pay and more job opportunities through a new approach to the way it buys its goods and services.

The council has already taken positive steps through its contracts – including achieving the Living Wage for 300 staff through the Care at Home Contract and securing 67 modern apprenticeships from housing, schools and leisure programmes – and wants to take this further.

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Renfrewshire Council’s Depute Leader, Councillor Mike Holmes, said: “We’ve delivered significant savings through our approach to buying goods and services and have worked hard to build the Living Wage into contracts and also create other local economic benefits like apprenticeships.

“But we need to build on our position as Scotland’s leading authority on effective procurement by achieving more community benefits through our three-year Procurement Strategy that is being finalised.

“Our top priorities will be maximising community benefits from procurement; working closer than ever with small local companies, asking firms to pledge not to use employee blacklists; ensuring care contracts are in line with Unison’s Ethical Care Charter and building on our Living Wage achievements to make clear that our preference of a fair Living Wage for staff is a normal part of doing business with us.”

While the council is progressing procurement locally, a key change at national level includes The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 being approved by the Scottish Parliament on 13 May 2014.

Councillor Holmes added: “The new Act doesn’t give councils the power to require contractors to pay the Living Wage, and so it doesn’t go far enough. If the Living Wage is good enough for the public sector – then it should be good enough for all and we will continue to press the government on this.

“I look forward to the Act’s regulations and guidance being published – with consultation on these expected. I hope for clarification from the government regarding whether or not councils will be given more powers to use procurement to protect employees from zero hours contracts and from blacklisting of workers.

“While we continue to push for efficiency, fairness and social benefits when we buy goods and services, there’s still more to be done nationally to give us the procurement powers that we need.”

The council is the only Scottish authority to achieve the government’s ‘superior performance’ status and will set out its plans to gain more positive impacts through procurement in a report to the Renfrewshire Council meeting on Thursday June 26.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][vc_column_text]Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][/vc_column][/vc_row]