Opportunities for Procurement Post-Brexit

CLES, the UK’s leading, independent think and do tank realising progressive economics for people and place, has today released a report outlining the potential of public spend to build local wealth in a post-Brexit economy.

The report argues that public spend – or procurement – is one of the main levers that places across the UK can use to build local wealth. It highlights how when anchor institutions, for example hospitals and colleges, purchase goods and services, this can bring direct benefits for local business and organisations as well as indirect benefits for the local economy, social economy and local population.

Utilising the principles pioneered by CLES, local institutions in Manchester and Preston have already re-directed millions of procurement pounds back into local economies. CLES’ work with Preston City Council and six other institutions has led to an increase in spend with Preston based organisations of over £74 million (£74,750,857.47 an increase from 5% in 2012/13 to 18.2% in 2016/17). The procurement spend of the six institutions in Lancashire is even more dramatic, totalling £199,688,679.96 (from 39% total spend in 2012/13 to 79.2% in 2016/17).

CLES’ new report, Opportunities for Public Procurement Post-Brexit, draws on the think-do tank’s 10 years of experience in progressive procurement; it identifies the need to progress the way procurement is thought about, before outlining how central government and local places can achieve this progress in a post-Brexit context.

Previously, CLES’ work has sought to measure and re-direct where procurement spend goes; shift the behaviour of procurers to think about local economic, social and environmental outcomes – alongside cost; and, influence suppliers to deliver enhanced outcomes through the provision of goods and services, for example, through the creation of local apprenticeships.

The report calls for ‘beefed up’ social value focused legislation at the national level and highlights the need for more localised frameworks and approaches, which are developed cooperatively by anchor institutions and shaped by local economic, social and environmental challenges.

For CLES, the re-shaping of procurement legislation, policy and practice is not an isolated change but part of a new economic urban agenda for the UK. The organisation believes in the need to localise, socialise, and democratise the UK economy and ensure that social justice and environmental sustainability are not simply hopes, but central objectives.


Author of the report, Matthew Jackson, Deputy Chief Executive of CLES commented:

‘I have worked in and around public procurers for the last ten years and have always sensed, even among the most progressive, a sense of frustration at the rigidity and bureaucracy associated with the process. There obviously has to be emphasis placed upon price, compliance and quality in any procurement process. However, I would argue that there is a real opportunity, post-Brexit, to make procurement more socially responsible and more aligned to the wider local economic, social and environmental challenges facing government and our local areas. This discussion paper outlines proposals for new legislation at central level and a means of progressing procurement processes at the local level.’

Read the report in full.


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