POINT (6.659633 52.34861)
  • Procure


    Kick-off meeting in June (Lublin). Transnational meetings in September (Satu Mare and Nagykallo) and December (Albacete).
    Transnational meetings in March (Koprivnica), June (Candelaria), September (Koszalin), November (Prague).
    Final event in March (Bologna).

    Municipality of Athienou
    2, Archbishop Makarios III Ave.
    7600 Athienou Cyprus


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email:

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

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    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

    Via Palazzo di Città, 1 - 10121 Turin (Italy)



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

    Edifício Municipal, Campo Grande nº25, 6ºE | 1749 -099 Lisboa



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510


    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

    City of Loulé
    Praça da República, 8104-001 Loulé
    Phone +351 289 400 600


    City of Igualada
    Plaça de l'Ajuntament, 1, 08700 Igualada, Barcelona


    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

    City of Genoa
    Via di Francia, 1 - XI floor. 16149 Genova


    City of San Donà di Piave Piazza Indipendenza, 13 – 30027


    City of Naples
    Urban Planning Department 
    Phone +39 081 7958932 - 34 - 17 


    The Barnsley Digital Media  County Way, Barnsley, S70 2JW
    Phone +44 01226 720700 


    Preston City Council
    Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2RL

    The goal of this Action Planning network was to explore how to harness the spending power through procurement of public and anchor institutions in the partner cities to bring about economic, social and environmental benefits for businesses and people which in turn will have a positive impact on the city and its local economy. The topics to be explored include: the regulations and law at both European and national level, and what cities are able to do around innovative procurement; how to analyse procurement spend and develop a procurement strategy; the use of social criteria and environmental criteria in procurement; and how to raise awareness of procurement amongst local businesses and SMEs.

    Driving innovation in public procurement
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  • More URBACT learning for better funding

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    One year on, cities say URBACT leads to more learning and more funding.


    Of the 205 cities involved in URBACT sustainable urban development networks in 2018, 99% would recommend the programme to another city.

    Why? Improved urban policymaking and capacity building are big reasons, with over 95% of cities adopting an integrated, participatory approach based on their learning from URBACT. Transnational cooperation is another; 62% of cities took up a good practice from another EU city in their local Integrated Action Plan, or “IAP”.

    URBACT is considered a valuable, enriching and concrete programme which empowers city stakeholders, changes the way cities work and has a real impact at local level – even in remote areas,” says Céline Ethuin, URBACT Project & Finance Officer, who analysed the URBACT III Action Planning Network closure reports. “It’s also a gateway to other EU funds and programmes.

    To hear about these benefits from the cities themselves, we caught up with Athens (EL), Morne-à-l’Eau (FR), Almelo (NL), and Bologna (IT), all of which completed URBACT networks in 2018.

    First some introductions…

    Athens (EL) investigated the reuse of vacant urban spaces during the URBACT REFILL network. Local coordinator Nicholas Karachalis says the city now links temporary use with social challenges such as immigration or youth unemployment, integrating the approach into mainstream local policies. The recent Athens Resilience strategy includes REFILL’s outcomes as a priority.

    Next stop Morne-à-l’Eau (FR), in the ‘ultra-peripheral’ Caribbean. This town is using sustainable urban mobility plans defined during the URBACT CityMobilNet network to improve traffic conditions, air quality and social inclusion. Local project coordinator Linda Docan says despite the challenges of distance, Morne-à-l’Eau embraced URBACT, its methods for co-creation, citizen mobilisation and joined-up policy development. Elected officials and agents are increasingly asked to share their CityMobilNet experiences at home and abroad.

    Almelo (NL) and Bologna (IT) were both in the URBACT Procure network on harnessing the power of local public spending. As a result, Almelo’s local project coordinator Maarten Visscher says his city gained new procurement policy guidelines – and a lasting enthusiasm for increasing local spend by involving regional suppliers. Discovering the 5% local spend rate was “an eye-opener for local politicians”. In Bologna, which has a broad URBACT experience, local project manager Marino Cavallo says Procure has brought green and sustainable criteria into the procurement process for local businesses and public administrations.

    How about longer term benefits? Are cities adopting and implementing local integrated action plans made under URBACT? Is URBACT a step towards more funding and bigger EU programmes?” The answer: a resounding “Yes”! 

    On completing URBACT networks in 2018, more than 80% of cities started implementing the local plans they’d built during the project, with 48% securing at least some financing. URBACT reports show many cities go on to apply to EU programmes such as INTERREG Europe, Horizon 2020, Erasmus Plus, Creative Europe, or Urban Innovative Actions (UIA).


    In Athens, for example, “One of the important next steps already being implemented is a pilot initiative called Polis Square (Polis2) that was partly based on REFILL,” says Nicholas. “Its aim was to test the viability and impact of citizen and culture-led city interventions facilitated by the Athens municipality in specific areas and empty shops. One of the funded projects is the Traces of Commerce project at the ‘Stoa Emporon’ that was already in operation during REFILL, while others, such as the ‘Plateia Theatrou’ project, were new.

    Athens’ UIA project Curing the Limbo also draws on URBACT REFILL methodology and involves local stakeholders who met through URBACT. The project promotes social innovation and the temporary use of buildings, empowering stranded refugees who have been granted asylum. The municipality of Athens is also active in projects funded by other programmes such as Interreg and H2020, including the cultural heritage partnership ROCK.

    URBACT has definitely improved participation in other European programmes such as UIA, but was also a very inspiring journey in terms of transnational exchange,” Nicholas adds.


    Morne-à-l’Eau obtained financial support for its IAP in parallel with its development. So, actions linked to creating nature areas, parking places, and e-mobility benefit from designated “ecological transition” funding. Linda says one IAP objective is to improve people’s living environment by encouraging “gentle wandering”. Here the main action is to renovate public lighting, co-financed under ERDF 2014-2020 within a large call for projects launched by the Guadeloupe Region managing authority. Other financial partners are the French state, the Guadeloupe region, and electricity operator EDF.

    Taking part in URBACT increased our awareness of other programmes such as Horizon 2020, BEST and LIFE,” says Linda. “It’s very likely that the work with URBACT and resulting IAP facilitates access to certain funding.

    Morne-à-l’Eau will keep using URBACT’s methodology in new projects. These include: an atlas of communal biodiversity, sharing and improving knowledge on local biodiversity using participatory science actions; and Mornalo Vélo Soleil, experimenting bike-sharing and developing the territory’s bike plan.


    For Almelo, “URBACT Procure has been really helpful, as it’s a framework which we can refer to in applications for EU funding,” says Maarten. Recently, Almelo highlighted procurement’s ability to unlock local potential in an H2020 call for projects on making cities healthier.

    Almelo is seeing a more “integral approach” to new projects, with more awareness of long term effects, and of the power of procurement, especially at strategic, management level. Through their focus on procurement, Almelo also got involved in a large national initiative on conditioned based maintenance of infrastructure, part of their IAP.

    URBACT is a programme we are interested in because it's more about capacity building and policy development, instead of the usual investments subsidies,” explains Maarten. “In particular it’s valuable because it also stimulates the European awareness of our organisation and employees.”


    As for Bologna, the URBACT Procure network made a “fundamental” contribution to training envisaged in the action plan. For example it enabled dozens of officials from municipalities and public administrations of the Bologna metropolitan area to follow a high-level course by a successful business school. They learned techniques in green procurement and were able to innovate internal organisational processes.

    Thanks to URBACT Procure, the Metropolitan City has been included in a European Union DG Grow pilot group on innovative procurement issues”, reports Marino. Bologna will also focus on public procurement and green procurement in a new H2020 project, Belt, on energy labelling, linking in with local and national institutions and businesses.

    Another URBACT network that Bologna completed in 2018 was GEN-Y CITY, bringing local government, scientists, businesses and residents together to develop, attract and retain local, young, creative talent. Encouraged by this experience, and the improvements URBACT was bringing to their city, Bologna went on to join a new URBACT Transfer Network, Urban Regeneration Mix, about bringing life back to historical areas – and citizens back to regenerated areas.

    Overall, URBACT’s working methodology has promoted collaboration and integration between partners to draw on better and better good practices – and provides helpful teamwork procedures, says Marino Cavallo. “Every URBACT project brings new pieces to build the future of our metropolitan area, knowledge that brings benefits especially in the long term.

    Has your city seen positive knock-on effects after completing an URBACT network? Share your story with us! Send an e-mail to

    For more accounts from cities in URBACT networks read “Cities in Action – Stories of Change”.

    From urbact
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  • The importance of procurement to city economies

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    This article explores why procurement is increasingly being seen as a way of addressing some of the economic, social and environmental issues facing our cities. It does this through reflecting on: the legislative framework for procurement; the activities of the Procure network; the importance of understanding where procurement spend goes; and how social considerations can be more effectively embedded into procurement processes.

    Local Economic Development


    The process of purchasing goods and services (procurement) has historically been seen as a bit of a challenge for municipalities and other institutions within our cities, especially when it comes to linking it to the achievement of wider local economic, social and environmental benefits. The process of procurement can and has been seen as bureaucratic, legally complex, isolated from other functions in municipalities, difficult to engage with for Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and extremely competitive.
    However, that perception and culture is in a time of change – procurement is suddenly seen as one of the key levers cities have at their disposal to stimulate local economic development and address social and environmental issues.  I have been talking about the importance of procurement in contributing towards wider outcomes for the last ten years. Indeed Manchester City Council in the UK, with whom I have been working with for the last 8 years, have seen levels of procurement spend with Manchester based business and organisations increase from 51.5% in 2008 to 73.6% in 2016 (see chart below); together with an array of wider benefits delivered by the supply chain. 
    Business and organisations increase, Manchester, United Kingdom, 2008 - 2016
    There are also sporadic elements of good practice across Europe. We are now however moving towards procurement being part of mainstream policy around the Urban Agenda for the EU. Indeed procurement is a specific theme of the emerging Urban Innovation Partnerships and a theme which cuts across other aspects including around economic development and poverty. 
    Part of this mainstreaming of procurement has been driven by legislation and particularly the 2014 European Procurement Directives. Previously and rightly, the Directives were framed by the importance of compliance, competitiveness and price in procurement processes, decisions, and the delivery of goods and services. This remains in the new Directives, but is importantly supplemented by three key considerations:
    • First, the Directives seek to encourage more flexibility in procurement – this includes the ability to engage with potential suppliers before a good or service goes to the market;
    • Second, the Directives seek to enhance the engagement of SMEs in the procurement process – making them more aware of opportunities, encouraging them to bid, and ultimately winning contracts;
    • Third, the Directives actively encourage purchasers to consider how procurement can be used to address wider social and environmental goals.
    The Procure network
    This mainstreaming of the importance of procurement in part framed the development of the Procure network as part of the URBACT III Programme. Led by Preston City Council from the UK, we felt that there was a real opportunity to think through how the process of procurement could be undertaken differently in cities so that the benefits it brings for local economies, business and residents could be maximised. 
    Importantly, the Procure network is not just focused upon the procurement processes adopted by municipalities. Instead, the network and particularly the URBACT Local Groups (ULGs) also include institutions which we are defining as ‘anchor institutions’ (this includes universities, health organisations, housing organisations, and large businesses). These are organisations across the public, commercial and social sectors which: will have a large number of jobs; will spend a lot of money purchasing goods and services; and which are unlikely to leave that locality as result of their scale or because of the fact they are embedded there.   
    Over the course of the two years of the Procure network we are seeking to encourage our cities to understand:
    • How the European Procurement Directives and associated national level law influences the design of goods and services and their procurement;
    • Where their existing spend goes – the extent to which it is in their local economies, with particular sectors of business, and with SMEs;
    • How they can be innovative in procurement and particularly how social and environmental criteria can be embedded in the process;
    • How SMEs can be engaged in the process and supported to bid for opportunities;
    • How the impact of procurement spend and its contribution to wider outcomes can be measured and monitored.
    Our network is however not starting from nothing – the baseline study suggested that each of the cities had at least started on the process of progressing how they undertake procurement, the key is maximising that through the transnational meetings, the activities of the ULGs, and the development of the Integrated Action Plans (IAPs).
    Some examples include:
    • Preston (UK) has measured where the procurement spend of their anchor institutions goes in geographical and sectoral terms;
    • Albacete (Spain) has started to link procurement to job creation through including clauses in contracts around creating employment opportunities;
    • Almelo (Netherlands) are working with business networks to develop the skills and capabilities of SMEs to enable them to bid for procurement opportunities;
    • Koszalin (Poland) have linked what they want to achieve through procurement to the priorities of their Development Strategy;
    • Lublin (Poland) has a dedicated procurement office and procurement plan which gives potential suppliers notice of upcoming opportunities;
    • Candelaria (Spain) look to co-design goods and services with residents of the city through community panels and prior to any procurement process being undertaken;
    • The Metropolitan City of Bologna (Italy) has been innovative in procurement through actively considering green issues, social responsibility and the role of SMEs in contracting;
    • Koprivnica (Croatia) is seeking to encourage SMEs to bid for opportunities by reducing the number of quotes required for tenders below 20,000 Euros;
    • Nagykallo (Hungary) have engaged with businesses prior to procurement to make them aware of opportunities;
    • District 9, Prague (Czech Republic) advertises all procurement opportunities on the municipality website;
    • Satu Mare (Romania) are undertaking some lotting of procurement opportunities to encourage smaller businesses to bid. 
    The importance of spend analysis

    Central to the activities of the Procure network to date has been setting the context for the Integrated Action Plans. Prior to cities doing any work around maximising the impact of procurement through social and environmental criteria and through the engagement of SMEs, they need to understand three contextual factors. First, they need to understand the legislative framework in which the action plan is being developed – this encompasses European and National level law and local level policy. Second, they need to understand the ways in which they can be innovative in procurement and what they can do around local economic, social and environmental issues. And third, they need to understand their existing position in terms of where their spend goes.

    As emphasised in the URBACT method for action planning evidence is crucial to the development of any strategy.  If cities are serious about progressing the way in which they undertake procurement and they want it to reap more benefits in local economic, social and environmental terms then they need to understand the existing nature of their spend and where it goes. Spend analysis is best undertaken at the end of a financial year and existing data can be used and added to in order to identify the following:
    • The geography of spend – in this, they might be interested in the proportion of their suppliers and the proportion of their spend which is with businesses and organisations based in their municipality boundary; in their wider city-region or region; or/and in their country. They might also be interested in the proportion of spend which is leaking out of their municipality boundary or city-region.
    • The sectors of spend – in this, they might be interested in the proportion of spend which is with organisations in the construction or communications sector, for example or with consultants. This can in turn be linked to the geographical analysis to identify the sectors where there is lots of spend in their municipality or city-region; and in turn the sectors where there is leakage out of the local economy and gaps (sectors where there is very little local spend).  
    • The nature of spend - In this they might be interested in the proportion of their spend which is with SMEs or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), for example. This can in turn be linked to the geographical analysis to identify the extent to which suppliers based in the municipality or city-region are SMEs or NGOs.
    • Sharing this data with local stakeholders in accessible ways, for instance with infographics, helps to increase understanding of the impact of public expenditure, and generate better awareness of procurement as a tool to achieve policy goals. 
    Maximising benefit through procurement
    All of our partner cities are currently in the process of undertaking their spend analysis and setting the wider context for their Integrated Action Plans. Once done on this we will start to scope how they can embed social criteria into procurement processes and really start to maximise benefit through procurement. There are a number of ways of doing this including:
    • Commissioning – in the design of goods and services, anchor institutions can ask potential suppliers to develop products which address particular outcomes such as reducing crime;
    • Tender process – in the tender process, anchor institutions can set percentages of the selection decision which will be assigned to social considerations, for example 10% and then ask potential suppliers questions around these criteria;
    • Tender decision – in the decision, anchor institutions can score against social considerations;
    • Monitoring – anchor institutions can monitor the extent to which suppliers are delivering against social considerations. 
    The Procure network partner cities are not the only ones undertaking work around promoting the importance of procurement to city economies, but it does need to be scaled up. In fact, we believe progressive procurement activity should be at the forefront of all policy activities where economic, social and environmental factors are of key importance. This includes the delivery of infrastructure projects, the spend of anchor institutions, and the delivery of projects including the URBACT Implementation Networks. It is potentially one of the most powerful, but perhaps under used tools to achieve an integrated approach.  
    Over the course of the two years of the network, we will look to change practice around the process of procurement in our 11 cities, and to contribute to examples and proof of concept to share with other cities. It must be noted however that behaviour change across Europe will take much longer to ensure that the importance of procurement to city economies is realised. 
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