Responsible public procurement

Kit departementalESS N°12

June 2021

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

In connection with the renewal of departmental and regional executives in June 2021, the RTES is proposing a DepartmentalESS kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future teams wishing to support the social and solidarity economy (SSE).

This kit will include about twenty practical sheets, based on the principle of the MunicipalESS Kit published in 2020, illustrated with examples, and presenting in a synthetic and concrete way how a regional council can include the SSE in its policies.

Sheet No. 12 provides an understanding of the importance of public procurement in the economic policy of local authorities.

Public procurement is an economic policy tool for local authorities. Whether for works contracts, waste management, intellectual services or equipment, the departmental councils have many levers for responsible public procurement that contribute to the development of SSE structures in their territory :

The reinsertion market in the Pas-de-Calais secondary schools

The Pas-de-Calais department is deploying a social and professional reintegration contract for maintenance and catering support functions in its secondary schools. The department relies on the provision of people on social integration by intermediary associations.

Between September 2018 and December 2020, 122 schools were involved in this contract, with 26 intermediary associations (AIs) awarded contracts and 913 employees on integration, including 687 RSA recipients. In addition to the return to work of RSA beneficiaries, this contract makes it possible to perpetuate local IAs (maintenance or even development of positions).

Use the levers of the public procurement code to target SSE structures

The Department of Ille-et-Vilaine awarded the « Fair Trade Territory » label

The department was awarded the « Fair Trade Territory » label in late 2014. Within this framework, the department is committed to developing fair trade purchases within the community, in protocol purchases (catering contracts for receptions are 100% fair trade coffee), in vending machines (100% fair trade coffee), for professional clothing (fair trade cotton), for gift baskets (fair trade chocolates). The department also trains its agents and buyers in the development of fair trade purchasing.

Drawing up a strategy for the development of responsible purchasing

Or a scheme for the promotion of socially and environmentally responsible purchasing - SPASER, the development of which involves the various departments of the local authority and economic players, particularly those from the SSE.

The SPASER is mandatory for all local authorities with a volume of public purchases in excess of 100 million euros, but its implementation may be of interest to all departments. This responsible purchasing strategy must be regularly evaluated with the stakeholders concerned.

The Meurthe-et-Moselle SPASER 2021-2026

In 2020, the Meurthe-et-Moselle departmental council adopted its plan to promote socially and environmentally responsible purchasing (SPASER) for six years. This SPASER follows on from the integration of inclusion clauses in public procurement contracts as early as 2008, and the development of innovative partnership actions with the construction industry in 2014.

This internal approach promotes a common culture of responsible purchasing and enables resources and energies to be pooled. The development of the SPSER was initiated, coordinated and led by the Department’s public procurement department, while being co-constructed by all the departments. For a year, an internal participatory approach was carried out using a practical and operational method (action sheets) in order to create an effective tool. A transversal governance involving the elected representatives and the administration of the Departmental Council and an evaluation process were established in order to adjust the plan according to needs.

Getting organised within the local authority

Use facilitators to develop social clauses

Helping to ensure that the integration clause is correctly calibrated, identifying and proposing people on the integration pathway, monitoring the proper execution of the clause and evaluating its impact, the facilitators are real resources for the development and proper execution of a social clause.

Alliance Ville Emploi federates a large number of structures employing facilitators (employment centres, some local authorities, etc.).

Developing innovative purchasing

The innovation partnership and the experiment on innovative purchasing (negotiated contracts up to €100,000) make it possible to facilitate the awarding of public contracts with an innovative purpose.

They are real tools for developing social innovation and SSE in the territories and for committing public services to continuous improvement.

Mayotte’s Socially Responsible Procurement scheme

The department of Mayotte, which has 35 closed contracts, includes social clauses in almost all its contracts from a threshold of 70,000 euros.

Since 2017, it has been deploying this system, supported by the CRESS of Mayotte. Local authorities, companies, prescribing departments and SIAEs have access to the services of a social and environmental clause facilitator. In 2020, this system was recognised as a « European best practice » by the European Commission.

To go further

  • Points de RepèrESS du RTES n°5 Marchés publics & ESS, updated in February 2020, n°8 Commerce équitable et collectivités, June 2020, and n°9 sur les SPASER, March 2021.

  • RTES online conferences on SPASERs (19 November 2019) and on set-asides (5 June 2018)

  • Guide to public contracts under €40,000 excluding tax Less formalities, more opportunities! by the Médiateur des entreprises, February 2020

  • Illustrations Towards responsible public procurement, APES, 2020

  • EESC report, Commande publique responsable, un levier insuffisamment exploité, Patricia Lexcellent, March 2018.