The issues of the day have a habit of cropping up in the context of public procurement. There is a simple explanation. Universally, the popular perception of public procurement regulation is to provide a means by which desirable social and economic outcomes can be promoted.
As we have discussed on many occasions, this popular perception is at odds with the present framework of EU and domestic legislation which, by and large, has had the effect of limiting selection and award criteria (and, in effect, the assessment of MEAT) to considerations of direct relevance to the requirement being procured.
The Social Value Act in the UK and a response to the global downturn which is increasingly citing public procurement amongst the key economic levers which can help steer the course back to growth and development, for example, are beginning to change the tone and range of the debate.
Here is a simple but effective example of economic engineering by public procurement in action. The Herald reports that Scottish parliamentarians are considering how to use public tendering to dissuade the practice of letting so called “zero hours” contracts.
They can’t change employment law (that power is reserved to Westminster) but they CAN outlaw zero-hours contracts under public procurements? Can’t they?