progressive procurement

What can councils do to stand up for fair tax conduct?

This article originally appeared in The MJ.

Tax and procurement are subjects that often top the news agenda for the wrong reasons. Tax avoidance has long been a topic of public debate with concern about the lack of a level playing field between domestic businesses and those headquartered offshore. More recently, we have seen eye-watering PPE contracts fast tracked to companies with no history of supplying medical-grade equipment, some with murky ownership structures in tax havens. However – used well – tax and procurement are key interrelated public policy levers that local governments can use to create considerable public good.

Before COVID, a staggering 17.5% of UK public procurement contracts were won by companies with a connection to a tax haven, harming our economy by extracting tax receipts as a result of profit shifting. There is no evidence to suggest this situation has improved over the past year. While many loopholes have been closed, there is still no national policy restricting public contracts to organisations that fail to pursue good tax conduct within their supply chain – either in the UK or beyond. We know the demand for change exists – two-thirds of the public say they would rather shop or work with a business that can prove it is paying its fair share of tax. Councils can and must use their powers to promote exemplary tax practice in their local areas.

Powering social value through recovery

Yesterday we released our yearly analysis of the contribution that Manchester City Council’s procurement spend makes to the city’s economy and how it can support the achievement of wider social and environmental outcomes. Here, David Burch, lead analyst on the project discusses the findings and the broader implications of progressive procurement.

For the past 13 years, CLES have been working with Manchester City Council to harness its procurement spend and maximise the economic, social and environmental benefit generated for its people, place and the planet.

Summit 2020: Procurement for economic reform

Ding dong, 2020 is nearly over and we here at CLES are thinking about hope in the darkness and the prospect of local economic reform as we commence the long journey to Covid-19 recovery. In this spirit we’re sharing write ups of our policy breakout sessions from November’s Community Wealth Building Summit. Today Amanda Stevens looks at the role of progressive procurement in supporting local employment and recirculating wealth and surplus locally.

In this interesting session there was broad agreement by the panel and delegates that a change in perceptions about procurement is needed: procurement professionals should be encouraged to think beyond bureaucratic and technical considerations and to consider procurement as a lever to address economic, social and environmental challenges.

Social Value 2020: people, place and planet 

Since 2008, CLES have been working with Manchester City Council to harness its procurement spend and maximise the economic, social and environmental benefit generated for its people, place and the planet.

Our collaboration has helped build a more inclusive economy over the last decade. The early adoption of an ethical procurement policy, a unique social value weighting of 20% in the tender process and a focus on supplier engagement in areas of deprivation has put Manchester City Council at the forefront of progressive procurement practice.
“CLES is working with councils across the UK to build community wealth and create good local economies for all.”
Progressive procurement is one important part of community wealth building: a systems approach to economic development built on local roots. It aims to reorganise local economies to put control back in the hands of local people, with wealth being generated, circulated and held locally. CLES is working with councils across the UK to build community wealth and create good local economies for all.