Responsible public procurement
Kit RégionalESS N°11
Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)
In connection with the renewal of regional executives in June 2021, RTES proposes a Regional SSE kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future regional 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. Sheets 1 and 2 of the RegionalESS kit are SSE presentation sheets. They can be consulted under the references Social and Solidarity Economy: What are we talking about? (handout n°2504.) and Why implement a cross-cutting policy to support the social and solidarity economy? (fact sheet n°2505).
Sheet n°11 helps to understand the interest of public procurement in the economic policy of local authorities.
Public procurement is an economic policy tool for local authorities. Whether it concerns works contracts, waste management, intellectual services or equipment, regional councils have many levers for responsible public procurement that contribute to the development of SSE structures in their territory :
Know the SSE actors in the territory and systematise sourcing
Knowing the actors in the territory and their capacity to respond to the needs of the community, organising meetings between buyers and SSE actors (ESAT, Structures of integration through economic activity, ESUS approved companies, associations, etc.).
Consult the actors before awarding a public contract.
Rely on networks of actors to support SSE structures in their ability to respond to contracts (dissemination of information, organisation of purchasing platforms, organisation of trade fairs, organisation of training, support for structures in their responses to contracts, etc.).
A socially responsible business and purchasing week in Occitania
Co-organised since 2008 by Cress Occitanie and the Occitanie region, Coventis is the first biennial business fair dedicated to SSE companies. A major economic event in the region, it creates business opportunities for SSE companies, with local authorities and public-private buyers around the issues of CSR and responsible local purchasing.
In 2020, the first digital edition of the week « TRAIDS - TRansition towards Sustainable and Solidarity-based Inclusive Procurement » took place around numerous round tables, workshops and meetings.
Using the levers of the public procurement code to target SSE structures
Reserve lots or contracts for economic operators who employ disabled and/or disadvantaged workers or for SSE companies;
Include social and/or environmental clauses in the performance conditions and award criteria of contracts;
Require labels, for example the « fair trade » label;
Think about negotiated contracts without a prior call for competition for purchases with an estimated value of less than €40,000, which allow local authorities to work as closely as possible with the territories;
Allocate contracts to encourage responses from SSE structures;
Encourage collective responses through, for example, temporary groupings of companies (in connection with the networks of actors).
Set-aside contracts: supporting operators
The development of reserved markets requires that regions support SSE structures to understand the logic of public markets and be able to respond to them:
working with the networks of actors and developing local training, particularly for structures of integration through economic activity (SIAE),
sourcing with the identification of local actors able to respond,
detailed response to structures when their offer is not selected.
Draw up a strategy for the development of responsible purchasing
Or a scheme to promote socially and environmentally responsible purchasing - SPASER, drawn up with the various departments of the local authority and economic players, particularly those from the SSE.
SPASER in Brittany: improving SSE access to public procurement
One of the objectives of the SPASER of Brittany region, adopted in 2018, aims at integrating the specificities of the SSE sectors from the definition of the need, in order to reinforce the accessibility of public procurement to SSE structures: « Means of implementation : Integrate the specificities and values of SSE companies from the needs assessment; Improve the visibility of SSE companies by developing a specific referencing and enhance them by supporting dedicated sourcing platforms; Allow the constitution of company groupings and develop favourable conditions for groupings of traditional and SSE companies; Communicate specifically to companies; Support the heads of SSE networks in their actions of professionalisation in terms of public ordering of their members and develop awareness raising actions;. ..".
Organising within the local authority
Designate a social and solidarity economy referent within the local authority’s purchasing department;
Train and raise the awareness of local authority staff about responsible public procurement and the specificities of the SSE and economic activity-based integration structures;
Inform SSE structures in detail in the event of rejection.
Call on facilitators to develop social clauses
Helping to ensure that the inclusion clause is correctly calibrated, identifying and proposing people on the path to integration, monitoring the proper execution of the clause and evaluating its impact, 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.
The proactive policy of the Grand Est region
The Grand Est region adopted a SPASER in June 2017, named Orchidée, reflecting the region’s long-standing commitment. This SPASER is accompanied by a set of tools: dynamic mapping of purchases for the benefit of the 350 buyers of the local authority, annual census of needs, anticipation of contract renewals; specific working groups on cross-cutting purchasing segments; technical sheets with ready-to-use environmental criteria; monitoring indicators. The public purchasing department has a purchasing policy support service with four people dedicated to supporting buyers.
A multi-year agreement with the facilitators allows for the overall management of the system in conjunction with public and private purchasers and all the players involved in integration/employment/training, as well as support for companies in the implementation of their obligations.
In 2019, the Grand Est region used the innovative purchasing experiment to develop a fine analysis tool and consolidated data on the economic and geographical footprint of its purchases with the Association des Paralysés de France.
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.