The Strategic and Responsible Public Procurement Policy of Pamplona Recognized as Good Practice by the European Commission

Edited on 18/08/2020

The Executive Agency of the European Commission for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) has recently published the guide Making Socially Responsible Public Procurement Work: 71 Good Practices Cases, which includes the case study called Strategy for Socially Responsible Public Procurement at Pamplona City Council. In this way, Pamplona's responsible public procurement policy is recognized at European level as a good practice to be replicated.

In 2019, Pamplona City Council approved an Instruction and the

 , which includes social clauses, as well as compliance verification tools and impact measuring systems.

This instruction applies to all the bodies that promote the public procurement of the City of Pamplona and its institutional public sector. In addition, the City Council held a series of workshops to reinforce and promote the application of the Instruction and the Guide among the different municipal departments and public companies.

The objective pursued by Pamplona City Council is the implementation of a socially responsible public procurement strategy that allows a greater vision of service to citizens and an impact in terms of social integration, redistribution, equality and sustainability. Pamplona promotes a public procurement model that maintains the principles of effectiveness and efficiency, but also integrates and enhances social objectives in contracting, so that each service, work or supply, promotes gender equality, the employment of vulnerable people, the rights of people with disabilities, decent and quality employment, the circular economy, corporate social responsibility, social and territorial cohesion, and facilitate the hiring of Special Employment Centers and Insertion Companies.

In addition, the Pamplona City Council aims to be the first public administration in Spain to effectively verify and evaluate the social impact of public procurement. For this, each social clause will be accompanied by a verifier that demonstrates its effective compliance and an impact meter (evaluator) that allows its effectiveness and results to be computed.

In this way, once the process is completed, the City Council will be able to know what is the benefit and social results of procurement in a given period. For example: it will be known the number of people with disabilities hired, the women victims of gender violence employed, if all the staff providing public contracts avail themselves of the collective agreement, if the permanent contracts are increased, what is the amount hired or subcontracted with Insertion and Special Employment Centers, how many gender equality measures have been applied and how many people have benefited, what amount of fair trade products have been contracted or how many zero kilometer products have been purchased, among other variables.

The preparation of the Guide and the approval of the instruction arose as a necessity from the approval of the Regional Law on Public Contracts of Navarra in 2018, which transposes the European Public Procurement Directives of 2014. This Law says in its preamble the following in relation to its goals:

According to the “Europe 2020 Strategy”, public procurement plays a very important role as an instrument that must help to emerge a model of economic development that generates high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion, while guaranteeing its use. efficient public funds. Within this framework, the Directives set out objectives aimed at achieving this objective, such as promoting a more competitive market, facilitating the participation of SMEs in public procurement and providing tools for the use of public procurement as an instrument in social policies, environmental or research, all in an effort to modernize taking into account the context of economic globalization.

The use of public procurement as an instrument in gender, social, environmental or research equality policy is now more relevant since it has been understood that they are directly related to the general interest and are an appropriate way to use the public funds beyond the specific purpose intended to satisfy each contract. For this reason, what can be called “horizontal clauses” in these areas are established in this regional law: compliance with the regulations on gender equality between women and men, social, labor and environmental must be monitored and required in all phases of contract.

In this sense, article 64 - Award Criteria of this Regional Law establishes that: The award criteria of a social nature must have a weight of at least 10% of the total points, and for this purpose issues related to the purpose of the contract, such as the social and labor insertion of people with disabilities, or in a situation or risk of social exclusion; equality of women and men; reconciliation of work, personal and family life; improving working and salary conditions; the participation of young professionals and small entities or professional societies; subcontracting with Special Employment Centers and Insertion Companies; ethical and social responsibility criteria applied to contractual provision; the formation, the protection of the health or the participation of the workers of the benefit; or others of a similar nature.

Thus, one of the main elements of the Guide prepared with Pamplona is a catalog of selection criteria with a proposed wording, with contrasted legal validity, with its own specific verifier and its own specific evaluator, to facilitate verification of compliance and impact monitoring.

Public procurement is configured, as well as a tool for social transformation, since it responds to the need to incentivize equity. A socially responsible system in public procurement enables a larger and more diverse group of agents to access public procurement, as well as social benefits linked to global and local economic processes. It should also influence greater public-private collaboration to improve the effectiveness of the system, the application of innovative products / services, market knowledge, the needs of the sectors or the own know-how of the administration professionals.

Submitted by Alison Taylor on 18/08/2020
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Alison Taylor

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