Procure | URBACT III – Creating a Good Local Economy through Procurement

Partner: European Union – URBACT III Programme

September 2015 – May 2018

“We have been working with CLES for more than seven years and their involvement has been invaluable in providing both a critical eye and a practical solution to our ambitions for a more inclusive and alternative local economy. Their recognised expertise, knowledge and professionalism has also been instrumental in the success of the European URBACT III Procure network to educate and share good practice in how procurement can create a good local economy. This collaboration has helped us to realise the emerging “Preston Model” and the continuing work around community wealth building. (And they are very nice people to work with!)”

Tamar Reay, Preston City Council and Project Lead for Procure


Over the last 3 years, the European Funded URBACT III Programmes Procure Network has enabled 11 cities to explore how they can create good local economies through procurement.

The Procure Network sought to transfer knowledge and learning around the topic of procurement in 11 cities across Europe. In particular, it aimed to explore how those cities and the anchor institutions based within them can generate more benefit for the local economy and in social and environmental terms through their procurement processes and practices.

The 11 cities included: Preston, UK (Lead Partner); Almelo, the Netherlands; Lublin, Poland; Koszalin, Poland; Albacete, Spain; Satu Mare, Romania; Nagykallo, Hungary; Bologna, Italy; Candelaria, Spain; Koprivnica, Croatia; and District 9 Prague, Czech Republic.

Members of the network sought to:

  • Develop action plans for how they will use procurement to address local economic, social and environmental challenges;
  • Change the way in which they view the process of procurement from something bureaucratic to something innovative;
  • Learn from each other and share knowledge at both European and local levels

Read about the importance of procurement to city economies.

The Role of CLES

During his time as Deputy Chief Executive at CLES, Matthew Jackson was the Lead Expert for the Procure Network. Drawing on the knowledge and experience of progressive procurement developed through work by CLES. Matthew was able to provide knowledge, expertise, advice and guidance for the European network. This revolved around four activities.

  1. Developing and facilitating transnational meetings on a quarterly basis – these meetings (held over 2 days) brought together all of the 11 partner cities to discuss a particular aspect of procurement practice.
  2. Providing individual and bespoke support to each city around their procurement practices and the development of their action plans (these are the core output of the network).
  3. Writing a range of publications about the activities of the network – these include pre and post meeting briefing notes, case study papers, and articles.
  4. Disseminating the findings and activities of the Procure Network to the wider URBACT III Programme (there are 20 other networks on a variety of topics); Working closely with the Lead Partner Coordinator from Preston City Council (Tamar Reay) to project manage the activities of the network.

Identifying need, strategy and impact

Between September 2015 and March 2016, Matthew completed the ‘State of the Art’ and ‘Baseline Study’ for the Procure Network. This involved visits to each of the cities to identify: the challenges they faced around procurement; what they were already doing around procurement; and what they wanted to change through the Procure Network.

From May 2016, six transnational meetings were held, each accompanied by a briefing note, case study and article as detailed below. The briefing notes and case studies can be accessed in the document section here :

Meeting 1 – European and National Level Procurement Law

Meeting 2 – Spend analysis and developing procurement strategy

Meeting 3 – Embedding social criteria into procurement processes

Meeting 4 – Engaging and raising awareness with local businesses and SMEs

Meeting 5 – Embedding environmental criteria into procurement processes

Meeting 6 – Monitoring impact

Final Report

The Network’s key activities and impacts are detailed in the final report: Creating a Good Local Economy through Procurement.

Find out more


URBACT Network: Procure